Owning an NFL franchise is one of the most profitable centers in professional sports.
Despite a worldwide pandemic and several media controversies, National Football League franchises grew, on average, seven percent in value in 2020. Not a single team lost value this year, and the Cincinnati Bengals were the only franchise who reported 0% growth. With some franchises growing as up much as 11%, there was some movement at the top of the leaderboard for the league's most valuable franchises this year.
The NFL’s 5 most valuable teams
5. San Francisco 49ers, $3.8 billion
Owned by the York family, and co-chaired by Denise Bartolo York and John York, the 49ers cracked the NFL's top five most valuable franchises in 2020 gaining 9% in value and recording $121 million in operating income. The 49ers are the 12th most valuable franchise in the world and play out of one of the NFL's newest outdoor stadiums. Levi's Stadium was opened in 2014 with a construction cost of $1.3 billion, but was unable to host the 49ers for all home games in 2020 due to restrictions related to COVID-19 in the Bay Area.
4. Los Angeles Rams, $4 billion
The Rams are one of four NFL teams in the "$4 Billion Club," in large part thanks to the relocation of the franchise to a major metropolitan hub and the investment in the team that has come with the move. Owned by American buissnessman Stanley Kroenke (who also owns the Premier League team Arsenal), the Rams opened a new NFL stadium and multi-sport complex in 2020 called SoFi Stadium, that cost a reported $5-6 billion including planning, infrastructure, and construction.
3. New York Giants, $4.3 billion
Valued at just $514 million in 2002, the New York Giants have grown to one of the most valuable franchises in the league and just a few million away from being the second-most valuable. Owned by the Mara family and the Tisch family, the Giants have had little success on the field in recent years. New York hasn't won a division title since 2011, and hasn't posted a winning record since 2016. The franchise valuation, however, has stayed consistently growing and the Giants grew 10% in value this year according to Forbes.
2. New England Patriots, $4.4 billion
Evidently, losing Tom Brady didn't hurt the Patriots' bottom line too much in 2020. Robert Kraft's Patriots grew seven percent in value this year, and remain the league's second-most valuable franchise.
Like some of the league's other top owners, Kraft was involved in the day-to-day of the franchise's operations, especially with the team's former star quarterback. According the book 'The Dynasty' by Jeff Benedict, Brady went to Kraft's house when he became an NFL free agent this year and the two discussed the future before establishing Brady would be moving on from the Pats.
"Love you more than you know for being so classy in everything you do," Kraft allegedly texted Brady after the meeting. "Your parents should be so proud. I love them for creating you. You are truly one of a kind."
1. Dallas Cowboys, $5.7 billion
Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in the NFL, and it's not even close. Growing just four percent in 2020, the Cowboys are still the most valuable franchise in professional sports — more valuable than the Yankees, Lakers, Knicks, and all the powerhouse european soccer clubs. The Cowboys operating income last year, $425 million, was higher than the second and third ranked teams combined. Jones' NFL boys in silver, white, and blue may be faltering on the field in 2020, but the Cowboys remain a money machine.
All values are as per a September 2020 list released by Forbes.com detailing the value of all 32 NFL franchises.Published 23 Dec 2020, 00:47 IST