The Oakland Raiders aren’t what they used to be. The NFL team has had trouble competing at a high level over the last two decades. Last season was a mini-disaster for new head coach Jon Gruden. But things are looking up in Oakland.
Along with being more competitive this season, they also saw the franchise’s valuation increase by a league-high 20% in the past 12 months. Why exactly did that happen?
How Forbes measured the value of all 32 teams in the NFL
Forbes compiled a list of each team’s valuation, as well as how much that valuation has increased in the past year. Below is their methodology for determining each team’s value:
“Revenues and operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) are for the 2018 season and net of stadium debt service … We employ the cash basis, rather than the accrual basis, of accounting. Team values are enterprise value (equity plus net debt) and include the economics of the team’s stadium but not the value of its real estate.”
Below are the five most valuable teams:
- Dallas Cowboys ($4.9 billion)
- New England Patriots ($4.1 billion)
- New York Giants ($3.9 billion)
- Los Angeles Rams ($3.8 billion)
- San Francisco 49ers ($3.5 billion)
The franchise with the lowest value was the Buffalo Bills at $1.9 billion — although the Bills’ value increased by 19% in the past year.
The Raiders’ growth in value over the last year
Forbes valued the Raiders at $2.9 billion, which represents a 20% jump from last season. That’s the highest increase of any team, though several other franchises came close.
“I think being [ranked 12th] is a testament to all the people working so hard in our organization, beginning with [team president] Marc Badain,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They’ve all done a wonderful job getting us to this point.”
At first glance, this may seem counterintuitive. Although the Raiders did add Gruden as head coach last season, they struggled mightily last year. They’ve been better this season, but they aren’t one of the league’s elite teams.
Regardless, Davis isn’t interested in changing things up. “The only way [rankings] would really mean anything to me is if I was looking to sell the team, and I’m definitely not selling it.” The owner is celebrating growth after all. So, what specifically has happened to pave the way for such a drastic jump in the team’s value?
Why the Raiders’ value increased
The Raiders played in Oakland from 1960-81, moved to Los Angeles until 1994, then moved back to Oakland where they’ve played since. They compete in one of the oldest, most dilapidated stadiums in the NFL, the Oakland Coliseum.
The Raiders have also been either mediocre or bad for most of the current century (a Super Bowl appearance in the early 2000s notwithstanding). In short, after building a winning culture in the ’70s and ’80s, they’ve faded away as a prominent franchise.
This may have changed due to the team’s recent decision to move to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. With the success of the NHL’s Golden Knights, Sin City proves it can support major-league sports franchises. Vegas may not have a massive population, but it always has a lot of visitors. The Raiders will be an added attraction for a city full of them.
The increasing popularity and acceptance of sports gambling is also a factor. Las Vegas is essentially the sports betting capital of the world. With both in-person and online betting being legalized in more states, a team in Vegas will surely attract more attention.