The NFL is a big money business and its value is still growing.
The 32 franchises reflect this, rising in value by 28% when compared to 2021 and reaching an average value of $4.47 billion.
This growth is partly due to the recent sale of the Denver Broncos franchise for $4.65 billion. That’s 24% more than the franchise’s 2021 estimated worth.
The NFL has also enjoyed huge popularity recently; 75 of the 100 most-watched US television programs in 2021 were NFL games.
Unsurprisingly, national media rights and royalties form a large part of every franchise’s value. Each receives around $345 million annually from the NFL’s national revenue.
It looks like these contributions will only increase as sports betting continues to boost the NFL’s revenue.
However, the most valuable franchises also maximize their worth through massive sponsorship deals, leasing their stadiums and selling out games.
But what’s most interesting is that winning isn’t everything.
After all, the NFL is a business, and its most valuable franchises prove that even losing organizations can still be worth billions.
1. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are not only the most valuable franchise in the NFL but also the most valuable franchise in all sports.
In August, America’s Team was calculated as being worth a whopping $8 billion, improving on its 2021 value by 23%.
2022 is the 14th straight year that the Cowboys have been the most valuable franchise in the NFL.
This comes despite the fact the Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl in over 26 years.
Instead of winning, the Cowboys rely on their enormous fanbase to make their money.
The franchise frequently sells out their 100,000-capacity stadium and earns $100 million annually from premium ticket sales alone.
Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones is also known for making huge sponsorship and advertising deals, including a naming rights deal on their stadium with AT&T worth a lucrative $17–19 million per year.
2. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are the most successful team of the 21st century and have recently been valued at $6.4 billion.
This is the franchise’s 11th year ranked as the second most valuable in the NFL.
Boston, the largest city that is close to New England’s stadium, has a population of under 700,000, giving the Patriots a much smaller local fan base than other franchises on this list.
However, the Patriots have made up for it with many Super Bowl wins and superstars, like Tom Brady, making the franchise globally popular and extremely valuable.
In the 2015-16 season, sales of Brady’s jersey alone earned the Patriots $20 million.
Despite Brady leaving the team in 2020 the franchise remains popular.
The Patriots have also sought to increase their value by investing in stadium improvements, adding 50,000 sq. ft. of hospitality space that will be open all year round.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Winning a Super Bowl has been shown to boost franchise value by around 7%.
The Los Angeles Rams are experiencing this first hand; their value has leapt to $6.2 billion, after winning last year’s championship game.
While the Super Bowl win has improved the Rams’ value, the biggest change in the franchise’s fortunes came when owner, Stan Kroenke, managed to move the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016.
The move drove average game attendance up from 52,400 in 2015, to over 71,000 in 2021.
Now the Rams are one of the most valuable sports teams in the world.
4. New York Giants
New York City is home to some of the most famous sporting franchises in the world.
This, along with its sport-crazy, 8.8 million population led to BCW Sports naming it the World’s Sporting Capital in 2021.
This huge fan base has contributed to The New York Giants being valued at $6 billion despite them having the second-worst record in the NFL since 2016 (22-57).
However, the Giants also make massive amounts of money outside the NFL by using the MetLife Stadium to host several non-NFL related events such as soccer, WWE and the XFL.
MetLife has hosted two WWE WrestleManias in 2013 and 2019 with the event in 2019 generating $16.9 million in revenue.
5. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears’ value increased by 42%, from 2021 to 2022, reaching $5.8 billion.
This is largely thanks to the franchise’s plans to build a new stadium.
As one of the few NFL teams that currently leases a stadium, the Bears’ growth potential is enormous.
A new stadium would massively improve revenue through increased ticket sales, hosting non-NFL related events, and securing lucrative sponsorship deals.
The Bears are also the only NFL franchise in Chicago, which is the NFL’s third largest market behind New York and Los Angeles.
This will be a hugely attractive proposition for any potential buyer and guarantees local interest in the Bears will always remain high.
Lead image: Peter Bond/Flickr