For the fourth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys have topped the list as the most valuable franchise in sports, according to the annual ranking released by Forbes.
The magazine estimates that the Cowboys are worth $5 billion, outpacing the second-place New York Yankees, which are worth an estimated $4.6 billion in 2019.
Cowboys Outpace Soccer Clubs
The Cowboys are the only American team to rank as the world’s most valuable franchise since Forbes started publishing the list in 2010. For the first three years, English soccer club Manchester United led the list, while Real Madrid earned that honor from 2013-2015.
But while the value of sports franchises have been skyrocketing worldwide, nobody has been able to keep up with the Cowboys. In 2010, Manchester United was worth an estimated $1.83 billion to lead the rankings. Now, the 50th ranked New Orleans Saints are just scraping on the list with a valuation of $2.08 billion.
The Cowboys have been able to maintain their value – and their popularity in the United States – despite a lack of on-field success in recent years. While Dallas has won three of the last five NFC East crowns, they haven’t gone as far as the NFC Championship in the playoffs since 1995, the last time the team won a Super Bowl.
The Cowboys are owned by Jerry Jones, who purchase the team for just $140 million in 1989. Even adjusting for inflation, that equates to only about $290 million in 2019 dollars, making the team an excellent investment for Jones.
Both Manchester United (sixth, $3.81 billion) and Real Madrid (third, $4.24 billion) remain high on the list. Other top teams include Spanish soccer side FC Barcelona (fourth, $4.02 billion), the New York Knicks (fifth, $4 billion), and the New England Patriots (seventh, $3.8 billion).
NFL Teams Dominate Forbes List
Overall, NFL teams dominate the rankings. Of the 50 ranked franchises, 26 comes from the NFL, though that is down from 29 last year. NFL franchises benefit from lucrative media rights deals that paid out more than $260 million per team in 2018, boosting values across the board.
In addition, nine MLB clubs are on the list, along with eight European soccer giants (five from the EPL, two from La Liga, and Bayern Munich from Germany’s Bundesliga) and seven NBA teams.
Not a single team from any other league or sport made the list this year. According to Forbes, the highest ranking team from outside those four sports was the NHL’s New York Rangers, who ranked 72nd with an enterprise value of $1.55 billion.
According to Forbes, there aren’t many discount options available for ownerships groups who would like to get into the major American sports leagues. The magazine reports that every single team in the NFL, NBA, and MLB is now worth at least $1 billion – a figure that would nearly have landed a team in the top 10 when the list debuted in 2010. Today, a total of 52 teams are worth at least $2 billion according to the Forbes valuations.