The Denver Broncos finished 25th on Forbes's list of the world's fifty most valuable sports teams, down two spots from last year. The rankings were based on each team's enterprise value (total equity plus debt) and their current or pending stadium deals. The Broncos are valued at $1.161 billion.
Of the 24 sports teams ranked ahead of the Broncos, twelve were in the NFL. But are they really more valuable in the greater sense of things? We offer our takes in the following countdown.
Number 12: The Green Bay Packers
Valued at $1.183 billion and place at number 24 on Forbes's list, the Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned team in the league and occupies the smallest city of any team in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB. But Lambeau Field is proof that great things can come in small packages: Green Bay's waiting list for season tickets has 81,000 names on it and the average wait is about thirty years. Love them or hate them, Cheeseheads support their team.
But did that help Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII? (That's Super Bowl 32 for those of you who can't read Roman numerals.)
Number 11: The Indianapolis Colts
Even though owner Jim Irsay is best known for his lifestyle and bizarre tweeting, the Indianapolis Colts is quite a successful franchise. Valued at $1.2 billion, Nielsen ranks Indianapolis as the 26th-largest media market in the country, yet the Colts are the eleventh-highest valued NFL team and is ranked at number 21 by Forbes. Not every team is so lucky (no pun intended) to have Peyton Manning for a generation and then go on to draft a younger version of him for the next one.
We heard Peyton's moved on to better things.
Valued at $1.224 billion, the 49ers have undergone a hard-hitting resurgence in the last three years, bringing a lot of fans, both old and new, out of the woodwork. Their coach might dress like a schmuck, but Forbes ranks the 'Niners at number 20 and Levi's just paid $220 million for 20 years of naming rights on San Francisco's brand new, $1.3 billion stadium. 9.The Baltimore Ravens
Despite only being known for The Wire, Edgar Allen Poe and sitting in Nielsen's 27th-largest media market, the Baltimore Ravens are worth an estimated $1.227 billion and rank at number 19 overall. Making it to the playoffs nine of the last twelve years might help. Continue to keep counting down the twelve NFL teams Forbes says are more valuable than the Broncos. Number 8: The Chicago Bears
Even though the team plays in notoriously bad weather and starts Jay Cutler at quarterback, Da Bears are valued at $1.252 billion, good for eighteenth overall with Forbes. However, Chicago is the third-largest media market in the country, and Chicago sports fans are known for their sturdy dedication. Maybe Chicago should add some seats to Soldier Field, home to the smallest stadium capacity in the NFL. Number 7: The Philadelphia Eagles
The city of brotherly love is known for being harsh on its team when things aren't going well, but the Eagles still do all right at the box office. Sitting in the country's fourth-largest media market, the Eagles are valued at $1.314 billion and are just about to finish up a two-year, $125 million renovation to Lincoln Financial Field. Forbes ranks Philadelphia at number 17.
Undoubtedly fans hope HD scoreboards equal more Super Bowls: Philly is still flat-broke in that department.
Great location doesn't guarantee making the most money. Despite being in the country's largest media market, the Jets aren't able to fill MetLife Stadium. Dropping ticket prices and signing celebrities (Hi, Tim Tebow.... Bye, Tim Tebow) hasn't helped much, leaving the Jets in the bottom ten for NFL team ticket sales. Nevertheless, the "other" team in New York is still valued at $1.38 billion, good for fourteenth place. Number 5: The Houston Texans
Really? When has Houston ever done anything, you ask? The answer to that is: never. Eleven seasons, two playoff wins. Houston's record last year? 2-14.
Yet the Texans are worth $1.45 billion and were in the top ten in attendance last season according to ESPN. Texas loves football and Houston hates Dallas. Simple enough.
New York's favorite football team is valued at $1.55 billion, good for number ten on the main list. Although the Jets, who share MetLife Stadium with the Giants, were 23rd in attendance last season, the Giants finished second in the NFL. New York might not have a better Manning than the Broncos, but it's worth nearly $400 million more. Number 3: The Washington Redskins
The controversy surrounding its name hasn't seemed to hurt Washington's ability to make money. Worth an estimated $1.7 billion, the Redskins ranked at number nine with Forbes and drew the fourth-most fans to games last season according to ESPN. Still, the team might start making less money off merchandise after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins' trademarks for being offensive to Native Americans. Continue to keep counting down the twelve NFL teams Forbes says are more valuable than the Broncos. Number 2: The New England Patriots
Everybody loves a winner. Well, everyone in New England, anyways. The Patriots are valued at $1.8 billion and owe a lot of it to the team's tremendous success over the last decade. New England has sold out every home game since 1994 even though it has some of the most expensive tickets in the league. Going to five Super Bowls and winning three since 2001 probably increases demand. Number 1: The Dallas Cowboys
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Yes, you saw it coming, and no, that doesn't make it any more tolerable. "America's Team" is valued at $2.3 billion -- about $500 million more than New England and almost $1.14 billion more than the Broncos. Dallas also just signed a 25-year deal for stadium-naming rights worth an estimated $500 million.
Apparently winning playoff games doesn't factor into popularity.