The NFL is the most popular professional league in the USA. Not surprisingly, the value of the teams stands out in comparison to other sports. Many NFL clubs are now worth billions of dollars so that only the wealthiest can afford to join the exclusive owners’ club. But even wealth does not always guarantee the right to own one of the NFL teams.
League executives like to control who is allowed to own a club and who is destined to be left out. There are certain rules that prospective buyers must meet in order to have a chance of acquiring shares in a team.
Dallas Cowboys: America’s Most Expensive Football Team
Forbes is responsible for estimating the annual value of NFL clubs. But what are the most expensive teams in the NFL? According to this publication, the league’s most valuable team remains Dallas, valued at 6.5 billion, and the most expensive sports team in the world. The Cowboys are not called ‘Team America’ for nothing – the club’s value has risen 43% in the last five years, although serious sporting successes remain in the 1990s.
1. Dallas Cowboys ($6.5 billion)
2. New England Patriots ($5 billion)
3. New York Giants ($4.85 billion)
4. Los Angeles Rams (4.8 billion)
5. Washington Football Team ($4.2 billion)
6. San Francisco 49ers ($4.175 billion)
7. Chicago Bears ($4.075 billion)
8. New York Jets ($4.05 billion)
9. Philadelphia Eagles ($3.8 billion)
10. Denver Broncos ($3.75 billion)
The rising value of North American sports teams is a common trend, but no one has benefited as powerfully from this trend as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who paid $150m for the club in 1989. The second most expensive NFL team, the New England Patriots, is valued at $5 billion and ranks eighth in the Forbes rankings. The club has added 38% in value in the last five years.
At the other end of the ranking is the Bengals, who are valued at 2 billion. This is only a third of the value of the Cowboys, but still a very serious amount – in the NFL, even teams from a small market would cost potential buyers billions of dollars. The NFL record recently belonged to David Tepper, who acquired Carolina in 2018 for $2.275 billion. The Panthers are the most impressive brand the NFL has to offer. Still, even such a team rivals the most expensive sales in American basketball history ($2.35 billion for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019) and baseball ($2.4 billion for the New York Mets in 2020).
The new bar for the value of NFL teams was set by Denver, which has just changed ownership. The team was purchased by Rob Walton, owner of the Walmart chain, whose fortune is estimated at $58 billion. He paid around $4.5-4.6 billion for the Broncos. In this case, it is important to understand that NFL clubs are rarely available for purchase, so their market value can be difficult to determine accurately (the same Broncos were valued at $3.75 billion before Walton came in). Nevertheless, Forbes believes that by 2021, the average value of an NFL team has crossed the $3 billion mark for the first time in league history.
In conclusion, the most expensive teams in the NFL are those that have the most resources to spend. While this might not always correlate to on-field success, it is clear that having deep pockets can go a long way in the NFL. Whether it’s through high salaries for top players or lavish stadium deals, teams at the top of the league typically have more money to burn than their counterparts. This allows them to outspend their competition, which often leads to success on the field.