Most people know that sports teams are pretty rich, having millions to spend on new players and stadiums. However, many people don’t realize the extent of just how valuable sports teams can be. With huge TV and sponsorship deals, and even big companies such as Microsoft buying shares in certain teams, these guys have a lot of cash to throw around. Although you may think that U.S sports teams are likely to top the charts, you may be surprised to learn which sport actually rakes in the most cash… Here are the top 10 most valuable sports teams in the world.
Real Madrid are the first of several European soccer teams making a small fortune from prize winnings, and TV fees. Their value is estimated at $3.44 billion, which is pretty impressive considering their owned solely by club members. Perhaps it is because they have made it to the Champions League semi finals for four years in a row. Or maybe, it is because they have some of the world’s most famous players donning their shirts; Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo currently play there, and David Beckham is an ex-player too. As one of the most supported teams in the world, they also make a record fortune on things such as kit sales and sponsorship deals.
Founded in 1902 they used to be called Madrid Football Club, until King Alfonso XIII bestowed them the name Real Madrid and the crown emblem in 1920; real meaning royal in Spanish. With royal fans, it is no wonder this is the most valuable sports team in the world. Real Madrid are a force to be reckoned with in European soccer, becoming FIFA Club of the Century in 2000 and also Best European Club of the 20th Century in 2010. These guys have certainly got it all!
If there is one team that even comes close to the success of Real Madrid, it is F.C Barcelona; one of their toughest competitors. Despite them only having a value of $3.2 billion (only!) they actually have the highest annual income in the history of sports teams. In July 2014 it was announced that Barcelona made a whopping $700 million in one year alone. Wow! If Real Madrid have a huge following then that is also nothing compared to F.C Barcelona who have the largest social media following for any sports team in the world. With renowned players such as Lionel Messi and Xavi, this could go part of the way to explaining why this team has such a huge following.
So, what do they do with all that spare cash? Well, Barcelona’s board (another team owned by club members) has voted to expand the capacity of Camp Nou, their stadium. Their $800 million renovation will add on a roof and bring their capacity to 105,000 amongst other fancy upgrades. It looks like FC Barcelona is keen to give back to their fans, who are the reason they make so much money. We can’t really fault them on that!
Yet another European soccer time making the top 10, this time from England. The most successful English club is traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, and is owned by the Glazer family (much to most Man Utd fans’ distaste). Their value currently sits at an impressive $2.81 billion, however this is set to rise even more thanks to their new kit deal with Adidas. The sports clothing giant has agreed to pay Manchester United $1.3 billion over 10 years, in what is now the most lucrative sports kit deal in the world.
They have won the most league titles of any club and much of their success is down to their old manager, Alex Ferguson. Sorry, Sir Alex Ferguson, as he was knighted for his service to football. As you can tell, even the royal family enjoy a bit of European soccer. They have had some of the world’s most successful players, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo. They also have some pretty famous fans, including Justin Timberlake, Floyd Mayweather, and even One Direction’s own Harry Styles. No wonder they’re the most supported English football team in the world.
New York Yankees
After the top 3 we’re finally onto some U.S sports teams, starting off with the heroes of Major League Baseball; the New York Yankees. Owned by the Steinbrenner family, much of their $2.5 billion value actually comes from the YES regional sports network which is owned by the Yankees. 21st Century Fox purchased 80% of the sports network off of them in 2013, for a whopping $3.9 billion! However, it isn’t all just good business sense that puts the New York Yankees fourth on the list of most valuable sports teams, it also has something to do with them being one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports.
They have won 27 World Series titles and 18 division titles, both records in Major League Baseball. The team were originally founded in Maryland and called the Baltimore Orioles, before moving to New York two years later and changing their name. They have now been the New York Yankees for 100 years (as of 2013), which is an impressive history for a US baseball team. Here’s to another 100 years of the Yankees team and the Yankee stadium; including it’s famous hot dogs, piled high with everything you could possibly imagine.
From MLB to NFL, yet another U.S sports team to make it into the top 10. The Dallas Cowboys have a lot to thank for their $2.3 billion value, including a huge deal with AT&T for a 25 year stadium naming rights contract (estimated at $500 million). It also may have something to do with their impressive National Football League record, being the only team to win 20 seasons in a row! They also share the record for the most Super Bowl appearances with the Steelers. They have missed the playoffs just twice during their 20 season winning streak, a record that is still yet to be beaten. With famous players such as Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Tony Romo, and Randy White, it doesn’t come as a big surprise to learn the Dallas Cowboys have a large, and loyal, fan base. Being the most successful NFL team they also generate the most annual revenue in the league, around $560 million a year.
If the Dallas Cowboys can keep breaking records and signing huge deals with sponsors, then they could easily take over some of the higher ranked sports teams to become one of the most valuable franchises in the world.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Back to Major League Baseball now and most sports fans won’t be too surprised to see the Dodgers on this list. Strangely enough, they started off in New York which is exactly where their biggest competition (the Giants) also began their career. Looks like the LA Dodgers are winning in both MLB success and money, however, as they have an impressive value of $2 billion. In January of this year they signed a 25 year television deal with Time Warner Cable, worth an estimated $8.35 billion and so we think their wealth is just going to continue to grow.
They have won 6 World Series Titles, 21 National League pennants, and produced 12 Rookie of the Year award winners; four from 1979 and 1982, and five from 1992 to 1996, giving them the record for longest consecutive streaks in MLB. Incredible stuff! They also have a rather impressive fan base, which includes celebrities such as Real Madrid soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, Jessica Alba, Danny DeVito,Snoop Dogg and Alyssa Milano. With so many celebs backing the Dodgers, it is clear to see why cable channels fights over the rights to show their games, making them plenty of money in TV deals.
Sorry US sports fans, we’re back to European soccer with this one! These guys are newbies to this list, after being the underdogs in football for quite some time. It was only their captivating performance in 2013 and winning the UEFA Champions league that catapulted them to the forefront of soccer fan’s attention. In fact, their membership increased 30,000 in the last year, simply because of their stunning soccer performance. This has secured them a huge valuation of $1.85 billion and they now have the second largest membership in the whole world.
Bayern Munch have been through the wars (quite literally) as a club, with one of the most interesting histories of any sports team in the world. Set up in 1900 by former members of the Munich gymnastics club they managed to survive two world wars, despite the second one halting their play all together (the head coach and president were both Jewish). Despite all of their trials and tribulations, they are now one of the best loved (and most valuable) soccer teams in Europe, especially in Germany. This is one team that you know will continue to go far, and perhaps even take over one of the top teams, over the years.
New England Patriots
With the second highest ticket prices in the NFL it is a surprise that the New England Patriots have managed to sell out every single game since 1994. However, it does go some way to explaining why their value is $1.8 billion. Starting as the Boston Patriots in 1960 they soon moved to Foxborough and were renamed the New England Patriots in 1971. Although they did pretty well for themselves in the past, it wasn’t until the arrival of current coach Bill Belichick in 2000 that this NFL team started setting records.
Between 2001 and 2010 they managed to break the record for most wins in a decade, before breaking their own record again in 2011 and 2012. These guys seem unbeatable and it is down to players such as Tom Brady, Marcus Cannon, and Dan Connolly who have all set their own records for the team. The New England Patriots also have the second most Super Bowl appearances with 7, just behind the joint first place teams; the Cowboys and the Steelers. Well, they clearly must be doing something right if they have been selling out all of their tickets for 20 years, even at rather astronomical prices…
We’re sure there’s some joke about the Redskins being further down the table than the Cowboys, but we’re not the kind of people to make it. Although this team is constantly being picked on for their name, their logo, and how politically incorrect they are, it hasn’t stopped them raking in a small fortune. $1.7 billion to be exact. Many US fans have disagreed with them changing their name, although the US patent office recently voted that the team’s trademarks should be canceled. Why? Because the name is disparaging to Native Americans of course, despite very few people actually protesting.
As they say, all press is good press and this hasn’t stopped the Washington Redskins from making plenty of money from TV and sponsorship deals. They have also won the NFL championships 5 times, and have broken the record for single-season attendance for 10 years in a row. This NFL team manage to drum up a lot of loyal fans and support, which can only help increase their bank balance over time. Even if they do have to change their name, they will still be one of the greatest National Football Leagues teams of all time (unless you’re a Cowboys or Patriots fan).
New York Giants
Many people may be surprised to see the New York Giants so far down the list, especially those who are on the mammoth waiting list for a season ticket (more than any team, at 135,000 people currently). They also have plenty of famous fans, including Hugh Jackman, 50 Cent and even Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe). The Giants find themselves being some of the toughest competition for most NFL teams, including all of the ones we’ve listed and, of course, the Philadelphia Eagles. They managed to pack in over 80,000 fans into the stadium, per game, last year which is the second highest number in the league.
What is so impressive about the New York Giants is they started up before American Football was even that popular; being set up by Tim Mara for just $500. Since then they have grown with the times and became a favorite with fans from all over the world. The Giants are also pretty business savvy, and their revenue sharing has helped to strengthen the NFL over the last few decades. Whether you’re a Giants fan or not, there’s no denying that their team is an exciting one to watch. It’s also a pretty valuable one at $1.55 billion.