The World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams in 2017
Everybody knows that the world of sports is a billion dollar business. Through television rights, marketing, merchandise, and game events, professional sport teams and leagues make money hand over fist. The league that makes the most is the NFL, but there are plenty of valuable MLB, NBA, and even soccer teams around the world.
Forbes came up with their list of the most valuable franchises in professional sports, with their own estimates on the rise in value for each team over the last year as well as what each team’s value stands at today. Here are Forbes’ top 25 most valuable sports franchises for 2017.
25. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have had a tough time on the field of late, making the playoffs in 2016 for just the second time since 2001. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, and they just had to sign Jay Cutler to play quarterback in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. But the value on the franchise has skyrocketed, going up 28% over the last year to an estimated value of $2.38 billion. Miami’s highest-paid player in 2017 is Ndamukong Suh at $20 million.
24. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have quite the history, playing in eight Super Bowls and winning three — including the 2015 season behind future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. In the wake of Manning’s retirement, the 9-7 Broncos missed the playoffs in 2016 for the first time since 2010. But the good news? The value of the franchise rose 24% to $2.4 billion. The highest-paid Broncos player heading into the 2017 season is linebacker Von Miller, who is making $17 million.
23. Chicago Bulls
Despite being one of the most valuable NBA franchises, the Chicago Bulls have been directionless for quite a while. They did win six NBA championships in the ’90s, but since the turn of the century they’ve made just one appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals and none in the NBA Finals.
Still, their overall value is estimated at $2.5 billion — a rise of 9% in the last year. The Bulls are currently rebuilding, and their highest-paid player is 36-year-old Dwyane Wade who is making $23.8 million.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of what they hope will be a turnaround, with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz in tow and newly signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Currently, they’ve made the playoffs just once in the last six seasons and haven’t won a playoff game since 2008. Philadelphia has made two appearances in the Super Bowl, losing both times. Their value of $2.5 billion is a 4% uptick over the last year. The Eagles’ highest-paid player is left tackle Jason Peters, at $11.2 million.
21. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are almost certainly only on this list because of their success over the last few years. Prior to the 2012–13 season, the Warriors made the playoffs just one time since the 1993–94 season. They’ve now made it in each of the last five seasons, including three straight NBA Finals appearances and two championships. Their value has gone up 37% over the last year to $2.6 billion as it stands in 2017. Stephen Curry is the top salary on the books, at $34.7 million.
20. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans have only existed since 2002. They made their first ever playoff appearance in 2011. Over the last six years, they’ve qualified for the postseason four times but have never made it beyond the divisional round. Houston’s overall franchise record is 106-134. Their value has seen a modest raise of 4% in the last year, bringing them to $2.6 billion. J.J. Watt is their highest-paid player for the 2017 season, coming in at $10.5 million in total cash.
19. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants have been one of the more successful MLB teams over the last decade, winning the World Series three times behind a core featuring Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Buster Posey, and others.
Over the last year, the value of the franchise rose 18% to $2.65 billion. The Giants lost in the NLDS in 2016, and it appears they’re in for a rare last-place finish in 2017. Their highest-paid player this year is Posey at $22.2 million.
18. Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs have seen a bump in their franchise value, totaling around 22% and raising their worth to $2.68 billion. That has quite a lot to do with their recent success on the field.
Theo Epstein has turned around the franchise, taking the Cubs to the playoffs in 2015 and 2016 and winning their first World Series in 108 years to build a perennial contender. Outfielder Jason Heyward is the highest-paid player on the team in 2017, making $28.2 million.
17. Boston Red Sox
Much like the Cubs, the Boston Red Sox went through a long stretch without winning the World Series. They finally broke through in 2004 — under the leadership of Theo Epstein — and then won again in 2007 and 2013. Boston has consistently been one of the best MLB teams for the last 15 years. Their team value jumped 17% in the last year to $2.7 billion. Hanley Ramirez is the highest-paid player on the team, and he is making $22.7 million.
16. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears have had a spotty record of making the playoffs since Mike Ditka left the organization back in 1992. They’ve had five playoff appearances in 25 years, including one trip to the Super Bowl when they lost to Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.
Chicago has missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, and the outlook doesn’t look great for them, either. The good news is that the franchise value is up 10% over the last year, and they’re worth $2.7 billion. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is the highest-paid player on the team in 2017, thanks to signing bonus money that takes him to $19.7 million.
15. Bayern Munich
The first soccer club on the list is Bayern Munich. Located in Munich, Germany, they’re managed and coached by Carlo Ancelotti. They’ve seen a 1% bump in value over the last year, up to $2.71 billion. The top-paid player on the team is Frank Ribery, who’s set to make $17 million in 2017 according to Forbes. Their main rivalry is with Borussia Dortmund, who they have played three times in the DFB-Pokal Final.
14. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are having quite the year in 2017, running away with the best MLB record. They have Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game, and an offense that scores plenty of runs. The Dodgers have made the playoffs in five straight years — soon to be six — but have yet to make it to the World Series. They won their last championship in 1988. The franchise value has gone up 10% over the last year to $2.75 billion. Kershaw is the highest-paid player at $35.6 million.
13. New York Jets
Success has alluded the New York Jets for a while. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1968, and the back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game in 2009 and 2010 are the best they’ve done since 1998.
New York has missed the playoffs for the last six consecutive years, but still saw their franchise value rise 6% to $2.75 billion in 2017. Their highest-paid player next season will be defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson at $15 million.
12. Los Angeles Rams
The largest jump in value on this list goes to the Los Angeles Rams. It’s no coincidence that it came in their first year since moving out of St. Louis. The Rams are worth 100% more in 2017 than they were in 2016, raising their franchise value to $2.9 billion. Despite their 4-12 record, LA is happy to have the Rams back. Cornerback Trumaine Jackson is collecting $16.7 million in 2017, making the most on the team.
11. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins have been a controversial franchise, thanks to their team name and mascot. But they’ve seen their value jump to $2.95 billion in the last year, up around 4%. They made the playoffs just five times in the last 24 years, and haven’t even gotten to the NFC Championship Game since losing the Super Bowl back in 1992.
The good news: They’ve finished over .500 in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016, which is the first time in nearly 20 seasons. Washington’s highest-paid player in 2017 is cornerback Josh Norman at $24 million.
10. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have raised their franchise value by 11% over the last year, jumping to $3 billion. That’s an impressive rise, given that they’re not the most successful basketball franchise in their own city.
The Lakers have finished under .500 for the last four seasons, but prior to that they missed the playoffs just twice since 1975–76. They’ve totaled 11 championships since moving out to Los Angeles. Center Brook Lopez is the highest-paid player on the team at $22.6 million.
9. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have bottomed out lately, going 2-14 in 2016 and missing the playoffs for the last three years. But they made an appearance in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, and they’ve won five Super Bowls in the last 35 years.
The franchise has a deep history with some of the best players in the game, and they saw an 11% jump in their value to an even $3 billion in the last year. The highest-paid player on the 2017 roster is defensive end Solomon Thomas at $19 million.
8. New York Giants
The New York Giants have seen a jump in the value of their franchise by 11%, bringing them to an exceptional $3.1 billion. The Giants have had quite the success since the turn of the century, making three Super Bowl appearances and winning twice — both under quarterback Eli Manning and both over the New England Patriots and Tom Brady.
However, New York hasn’t finished first in the NFC East since 2011. Their highest-paid player in 2017 will be defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at $22.2 million.
7. New York Knicks
It’s difficult to think of the New York Knicks as a valuable franchise, but that’s exactly what they are. With a 10% bump in the last year, New York has seen their NBA team jump to $3.3 billion in overall value.
The Knicks made the playoffs just four times in the last 16 seasons, with zero trips to the Eastern Conference Finals since the 1998–99 season. As of now, the most well-paid player on the roster would be Carmelo Anthony at $26.2 million, but that could change if New York can finalize a deal to send him to the Houston Rockets.
6. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have been a model of success in all of sports since the year 2000. They’ve made seven trips to the Super Bowl in the last 17 years, winning five times. Tom Brady’s bunch hasn’t won less than 10 games in a season since 2002, and they’ve missed the playoffs only once since then — in a year that saw the Patriots go 11-5. Their value is up 6% over the last year, taking them to $3.4 billion. Cornerback Stephen Gilmore is making the most money in 2017 at $22.9 million.
5. Real Madrid
Despite a drop in value of about 2%, Real Madrid remains one of the most valuable franchises in sports at $3.58 billion. Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the most well-known soccer player in the world, plays for the franchise. Ronaldo is the top-paid player in the world as well, at $49 million in 2017. But he will certainly bank more than that, thanks to sponsors. He recently signed a lifetime deal with Nike worth $1 billion. Real Madrid has 12 European Cups, four European Super Cups, and two FIFA Club World Cups.
According to Forbes, Barcelona of the Premier League has raised their value 2% over the last year, up to $3.64 billion. The pro soccer club based in Spain has Lionel Messi, the second-highest paid soccer player in the world. Messi is set to earn a $42 million salary in 2017. Barcelona is a five-time European Super Cup winner and a three-time winner of both the FIFA Club World Cup and the Fair Cup.
3. Manchester United
The premier franchise from the Premier League, Manchester United is currently valued at $3.69 billion with an 11% uptick in the last year. Their highest-paid player is Wayne Rooney, who makes about $18 million in salary. ManU is the most successful team in the league, having won 20 League Titles, 12 FA Cups, five League Cups, and 21 Community Shields. They’re known for their large following, which extends around the world.
2. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are the picture of success in Major League Baseball. Sure, they’ve only won the World Series once in the last 15 years, but they’ve consistently made the playoffs since the mid-’90s.
New York hasn’t won the AL East since 2012, however, and is currently in a big-time battle for their division in 2017. The value of the franchise is up 9% to $3.7 billion, and pitcher C.C. Sabathia is the highest-paid player at $25 million.
1. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys, often referred to as “America’s Team,” have seen a lot of great players don their uniform. Few franchises and fanbases in all of sports hold themselves in such high esteem.
Dallas has appeared in eight Super Bowls, winning five of them, most recently in 1995. But the Cowboys have made the postseason just twice in the last seven years. Even so, their value is up 5% to a massive $4.2 billion in 2017. Their highest-paid player for next season is center Travis Frederick at $14.2 million.
Statistics courtesy of ESPN, Spotrac, and Sports-Reference.com.