We don’t know how many times we can say it: the National Football League is a business.
Everyone understands that the goal at the end of each season is to lift the Lombardi Trophy. However, since not every team is going to find themselves in that position then, at least, they can rest assured that there will be plenty of green to go around. Per Forbes’ calculations, NFL franchises don’t seem to be suffering in that respect.
After looking at the revenue and operating income for the 2014 season, Forbes has determined that the average team in the league is now worth $1.97 billion — up 38% from the previous year. That may seem like a crazy jump but, if you consider that each of the 32 teams had a $39 million increase in national revenue last year, it’s not so surprising. That’s the beauty of sharing $4.4 billion in national broadcasting revenue — there’s always money to be made.
Of course, like everything else, there are always those who make out better than the rest. Whether it’s playing in one of the bigger markets or producing better results on the field, some organizations continue to earn a bigger piece of the pie. Thanks to Forbes, we now know which teams are benefiting the most from the country’s most popular form of entertainment. With that in mind, here’s a look at the five most valuable NFL teams in 2015.
5. San Francisco 49ers
- Current Value: $2.7 billion
Tumultuous offseason or not, the San Francisco 49ers — according to Forbes — are the fifth most valuable team in the National Football League. In 2014, the Niners generated $427 million in revenue and had an operating income of $124 million. By moving into Levi’s Stadium — the club’s new $1.2 stadium — last season, the franchise’s 69% rise in value was the largest one-year increase in the league. It’s a shame this stadium can’t seem to grow proper grass.
4. New York Giants
- Current Value: $2.8 billion
The New York Giants are probably still reeling from their disappointing letdown in the season’s first Sunday night game, but at least the organization can use its cold, hard cash to wipe away the tears. After all, when you’re worth $2.8 billion, you can afford it. After pulling in $400 million in revenue in 2014, to go along with an operating income of $105 million, it’s clear that the bright lights and big city of New York continue to be favorable for the G-Men.
3. Washington Redskins
- Current Value: $2.85 billion
As we’ve shown with the 49ers, just because an organization is dysfunctional, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to bring in loads of cash. And when it comes to profitable organizations that continue to amaze with their overall incompetence, the Washington Redskins take the cake. Whether this team is worth $2.85 billion dollars, generated $439 million in 2014, or has an operating income of $125 million, whenever we think about this franchise, we will always remember that owner Dan Snyder is the “butt” of every joke in the NFL.
2. New England Patriots
- Current Value: $3.2 billion
It doesn’t matter how many scandals come along, when your team wins as often as the New England Patriots do, the money will continue to roll in. Following a 2014 season that saw the Pats generate $494 million in revenue, pull in an operating income of $195 million, and win their fourth Super Bowl under owner Robert Kraft, the club is now valued at $3.2 billion. With the way Tom Brady made history during the team’s season opener, we wouldn’t be surprised to see New England’s value continue to rise.
1. Dallas Cowboys
- Current Value: $4.0 billion
For the ninth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys sit atop Forbes’ list of the most valuable franchises in the National Football League. In 2014, the team pulled in $620 million in revenue (a record for a sports team in the U.S.) and finished with an operating income of $270 million. According to Forbes, the Cowboys led the NFL in “average attendance (90,000), premium seating revenue ($120 million) and stadium revenue generated from non-NFL events ($30 million).”
Taking all these things into consideration, and seeing how the Dallas Cowboys are now valued at $4.0 billion, it’s become abundantly clear that this is Jerry’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
To see Forbes’ complete list of “The Most Valuable Teams in the NFL 2015,” click here.