Every year for three decades, sports journalist Mike Ozanian of Forbes has gathered a huge amount of data about the financials of sports teams, both in the United States and abroad. The project was begun when he was an editor at Financial World in the 1990s. It has become a bible not only to the general public, but to investment bankers who work to buy and sell teams. Ozanian interviews many of the teams’ owners and has become part of the fabric of the complex financial universe of professional sports.
The Forbes list gives millions of fans another way to evaluate their teams, in addition to by wins and losses, along with statistics about players. The little financial data available also included information on stadium seating size and how many of those seats were actually sold.
A look at the Forbes list shows that professional sports teams tend to grow in value year over year. 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 most valuable teams in the world and from that list picked the most valuable one. Going down the list of finalists reveals how much profit the owners or ownership groups have realized over the decades. Bought in 2011 for $770 million, for instance, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now worth $1.7 billion.
To determine the world’s most valuable sports team, 24/7 Tempo reviewed rankings for 2021 from Forbes, based on the equity, debts, purchase or investment offers, stadium value, revenue and operating income rankings for the top 50 sports franchises. The change in valuation since the last purchase was calculated based on the difference between the current valuation of the team and the most recent owner or ownership group’s purchase price, regardless of the equity stake. The most recent championship for European soccer clubs was determined based on the highest level of European competition and did not factor in domestic championships.
The most valuable sports team is the Dallas Cowboys. The last time the Cowboys won the Super Bowl was in 1995. Here are the details:
- Value: $5.7 billion
- Owner: Jerry Jones
- Price paid: $150 million in 1989
- Change in value since purchase: +$5.6 billion
- Last title: 1995 Super Bowl champion
Entering the NFL as an expansion team in 1960, the Dallas Cowboys have established itself as a premier club with five Super Bowl titles. The team’s popularity has earned it the nickname “America’s Team,” though fans of other teams dispute that.