Each year, Forbes publishes their list of the most valuable professional sports franchises. For the fifth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL) grabbed the top spot, having been valued at $5.5 billion, which is just slightly higher than the worth of the New York Yankees. In 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $150 million, and over the past 31 years, the franchise has seen growth of 3,566.66%.
Here’s a guide to the 40 most valuable professional sports franchises in the United States (as of 2020).
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Four of the top 40 most valuable sports franchises in the United States call New York home. As of 2020, here are the 40 most valuable North American sports franchises:
- Dallas Cowboys (NFL): $5.5 billion
- New York Yankees (MLB): $5 billion
- New York Knicks (NBA): $4.6 billion
- Los Angeles Lakers (NBA): $4.4 billion
- Golden State Warriors (NBA): $4.3 billion
- New England Patriots (NFL): $4.1 billion
- New York Giants (NFL): $3.9 billion
- Los Angeles Rams (NFL): $3.8 billion
- San Francisco 49ers (NFL): $3.5 billion
- Chicago Bears (NFL): $3.45 billion
- Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB): $3.4 billion
- Washington Football Team (NFL): $3.4 billion
- Boston Red Sox (MLB): $3.4 billion
- Chicago Bulls (NBA): $3.2 billion
- Chicago Cubs (MLB): $3.2 billion
- New York Jets (NFL): $3.2 billion
- Boston Celtics (NBA): $3.1 billion
- Houston Texans (NFL): $3.1 billion
- San Francisco Giants (MLB): $3.1 billion
- Philadelphia Eagles (NFL): $3.05 billion
- Denver Broncos (NFL): $3 billion
- Las Vegas Raiders (NFL): $2.9 billion
- Green Bay Packers (NFL): $2.85 billion
- Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL): $2.8 billion
- Seattle Seahawks (NFL): $2.78 billion
- Miami Dolphins (NFL): $2.75 billion
- Atlanta Falcons (NFL): $2.755 billion
- Baltimore Ravens (NFL): $2.75 billion
- Minnesota Vikings (NFL): $2.7 billion
- Indianapolis Colts (NFL): $2.65 billion
- Los Angeles Clippers (NBA): $2.6 billion
- Brooklyn Nets (NBA): $2.5 billion
- Los Angeles Chargers (NFL): $2.5 billion
- Houston Rockets (NBA): $2.48 billion
- Carolina Panthers (NBA): $2.4 billion
- Dallas Mavericks (NBA): $2.4 billion
- New York Mets (MLB): $2.4 billion
- Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL): $2.33 billion
- Kansas City Chiefs (NFL): $2.3 billion
- New Orleans Saints (NFL): $2.28 billion
While the majority of the franchises named initially cost millions of dollars when they were purchased, some were actually bought for very little money. Here are five franchises that were purchased for less than $200,000.
- Chicago Bears (NFL): $100 (1920)
- Green Bay Packers (NFL): $100 (1921)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL): $2,500 (1933)
- Kansas City Chiefs (NFL): $25,000 (1960)
- Las Vegas Raiders (NFL): $180,000 (1966)
Here are some additional facts about the most valuable professional sports franchises in America:
- Of the four major sports in America (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey), 25 of the 40 franchises are from the National Football League (62.5%). Nine of the franchises are from the National Basketball Association (22.5%), and six come from Major League Baseball (15%). The National Hockey League did not have one of their franchises crack the top 40.
- Only two of the owners from this list own multiple sports franchises. Stanley Kroenke owns four: the Los Angeles Rams (eighth most valuable American sports franchise), the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids, and the Arsenal soccer club. Shahid Khan owns two: the Jacksonville Jaguars (38th most valuable sports franchise in the U.S.) and Fulham F.C.
- Even in the top 50 most valuable franchises, there is no representation from the National Hockey League, NASCAR, Major League Soccer, or Formula One.
- New York has more franchises within the top 40 than any other sports city, at five: the New York Yankees (second), New York Knicks (third), New York Giants (seventh), New York Jets (tied for 14th), and New York Mets (tied for 34th).