The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s most valuable franchise, worth $5.25 billion by Forbes’ count last year. But the team’s owners haven’t stopped there: Yankee Global Enterprises also has stakes in reigning MLS champion New York City FC, the YES Network and Legends Hospitality—which works with sports and entertainment organizations and venues in areas like hospitality, partnerships, concessions and merchandise—and it has a small equity stake in the Professional Fighters League, an MMA promotion. The additional holdings push the total value of the company’s sports properties to $6.81 billion. (Full disclosure: I am co-host of the YES Network’s Forbes SportsMoney show.)
The story is much the same at AMB Group, which owns both the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United, as well as golf retailer PGA Tour Superstore. Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s portfolio includes the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, plus investments in esports and a regional sports network for digital, mobile and OTT platforms that had combined revenue of $500 million before the pandemic, according to Monumental owner Ted Leonsis. Andby dint of their league’s investments, a number of sports ownership groups in MLB,the NFL and the NBA have a piece of Fanatics, the sportsmerchandising, licensing, trading card and NFT behemoth run by Michael Rubin.
These sports empires are more valuable than ever, led by Liberty Media. Liberty has total ownership of reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves and the team’s mixed-use real estate project, as well as the auto-racing promotion Formula 1, and it has minority stakes in the Drone Racing League, the Meyer Shank auto-racing team and the Kroenke Arena Company (owner of the Ball Arena, home of the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche). Total enterprise value: $17.2 billion, an increase of 32% from last year, driven by big gains in revenue and operating income (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the Braves and Formula 1 over the past year.
Investors can easily bet on Liberty’s sports assets through tracking stocks, but the private sports empires are attracting smart money as well. Investors believe they have enormous upside, not only because sports team investments have generally delivered superior returns to stocks but also because the companies and individuals behind the sports behemoths have a proven track record of scalability via their collection of teams and media, technology, gambling, retail and real estate properties.
No doubt that’s what RedBird Capital and Arctos Sports Partners were thinking when they bought stakes in Fenway Sports Group last year. Ditto Silver Lake Partners’ $500 million investment in City Football Group two years ago. And with private equity recently entering the fray after sports leagues changed their ownership rules to open their pearly gates to Wall Street, the money flowing in will fuel even bigger sports empires.
This year, we have expanded our sports empires ranking to 25, from 20. Comparing this year’s top 20 with last year’s list shows an increase in aggregate enterprise value of 22%, to $124 billion, from $102 billion. Much of the increase has to do with new media deals driving up team values in the NFL and the NHL. For instance, in December, Fenway Sports Group paid about $900 million for the Pittsburgh Penguins, nearly nine times what Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle paid for the NHL team in 1999. The Penguins’ 10% annualized price appreciation was 64% better than the increase in the S&P 500 stock index during the same period.
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Debuting on the list this year with a huge splash is Shahid Khan, who followed up his purchase of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 with the acquisition of Fulham FC two years later. The purchase of the English soccer team also got Khan several acres of incredibly valuable real estate. Then, in 2019, Khan launched the pro-wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling, run by his son, Tony. Add it all up, and Khan’s empire comes in at No. 12 at $4.8 billion, a figure that will undoubtably rise when the Riverside Stand on the land is opened later this year.
No one in sports has leveraged real estate better than Jerry Jones. The Dallas Cowboys owner, whose empire ranks fourth at $8.85 billion, spent some $1.5 billion on the Star, the NFL team’s headquarters and practice facility that includes the Ford Center, which hosts events ranging from gymnastics to Sesame Street Live. The 91-acre campus also has no shortage of places to shop and eat. The project is now worth about $2 billion, according to experts.
Partnering with another team—even one outside the U.S.—has helped the York family, owners of the San Francisco 49ers, increase the value of its empire to $4.31 billion, from $3.76 a year ago. By linking up with Leeds United, the 49ers have not only obtained a 44% stake in an English soccer team whose value has more than tripled, to $470 million, since 2018 when the Yorks first bought in, but also found a way to expand their brand overseas at a time when the NFL is awarding international business rights to its teams. The deal has worked out very well for Leeds, too.
Here are the 25 most valuable sports empires.
1. Liberty Media
Value: $17.20 billion
Properties: Atlanta Braves, Formula 1, Drone Racing League*, Kroenke Arena Company*, Meyer Shank Racing*
Key People: John Malone (chairman), Greg Maffei (president and CEO)
2. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
Value: $10.54 billion
Properties: Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Arsenal FC, esports investments, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Altitude Sports and Entertainment, Kroenke Arena Company
Key Person: Stan Kroenke (chairman)
3. Fenway Sports Group
Value: $9.81 billion
Properties: Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing*, NESN, Fenway Sports Management, Pittsburgh Penguins, real estate
Key People: John Henry (principal owner), Tom Werner (chairman)
4. Jerry Jones
Value: $8.85 billion
Properties: Dallas Cowboys, Legends Hospitality*, The Star, Complexity Gaming
5. Madison Square Garden Sports
Value: $7.84 billion
Properties: New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Counter Logic Gaming, Hartford Wolf Pack
Key Person: James Dolan (executive chairman)
6. Yankee Global Enterprises
Value: $6.81 billion
Properties: New York Yankees, Legends Hospitality*, YES Network*, New York City FC*, minor league baseball teams
Key Person: Hal Steinbrenner (CEO and chairman)
7. Kraft family
Value: $5.88 billion
Properties: New England Patriots, New England Revolution, UFC*, Kraft Analytics Group, DraftKings*, Skillz*, Boston Uprising
8. Glazer family
Value: $5.84 billion
Properties: Manchester United, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Paul G. Allen Trust
Value: $5.69 billion
Properties: Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Sounders*
10. City Football Group
Value: $5.00 billion
Properties: Manchester City, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC
11. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Value: $4.98 billion
Properties: Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Marlies
12. Shahid Khan
Value: $4.80 billion
Properties: Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham FC, All Elite Wrestling
13. Benson family
Value: $4.35 billion
Properties: New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans
14. York family
Value: $4.31 billion
Properties: San Francisco 49ers, Leeds United FC*, Elevate Sports Ventures*
15. Dan Snyder
Value: $4.20 billion
Properties: Washington Football Team
16. Johnson family
Value: $4.05 billion
Properties: New York Jets
17. AMB Group
Value: $3.65 billion
Properties: Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, PGA Tour Superstore
Key Person: Arthur Blank (chairman)
18. Buss Family Trust
Value: $3.63 billion
Properties: Los Angeles Lakers
19. Guggenheim Baseball Management
Value: $3.54 billion
Properties: Los Angeles Dodgers, Spectrum SportsNet LA
Key Person: Mark Walter (CEO)
20. Jeffrey Lurie
Value: $3.50 billion
Properties: Philadelphia Eagles
21. Stephen Ross
Value: $3.45 billion
Properties: Miami Dolphins, Drone Racing League*, Champions Cup, Miami Open
22. Steve Ballmer
Value: $3.35 billion
Properties: Los Angeles Clippers, The Forum
23. Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment
Value: $3.33 billion
Properties: Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, New Meta Entertainment*, Elevate Sports Ventures*, HBSE Ventures, Utica Comets
Key People: Josh Harris (managing partner), David Blitzer (co-managing partner)
24. Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Value: $3.32 billion
Properties: Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics, aXiomatic Gaming*, NBC Sports Washington*, Monumental Sports Network, Sportradar*
Key Person: Ted Leonsis (managing partner)
25. Tepper Sports & Entertainment
Value: $3.31 billion
Properties: Carolina Panthers, Charlotte FC
Key Person: David Tepper (owner)
* Indicates ownership of 50% or less.
To compile our scorecard of the most valuable sports empires, we screened our database of the most valuable teams from theNFL,MLB, theNBA, theNHLandsoccerfor people or companies whose holdings in these teams were above $2 billion. For MLS team values, we mostly relied on Sportico. For other sports-related assets included in the empires, we spoke with owners, analysts and industry experts.
Only people or entities with a majority interest in at least one team were eligible. Thus, Barcelona, the world’s most valuable soccer team at $4.76 billion, was excluded from our empires list because the Spanish soccer team is owned by more than 140,000 club members. Likewise, Michael Rubin and Fanaticsare excluded from our list, despite his minority ownership in sports teams and the company’s dominance in sports apparel merchandise.
We include enterprise values only for the most valuable parent company or managing partner of the sports-related assets. For example, the teams owned by Joshua Harris and David Blitzer are included in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, but Blitzer’s ownership in MLS’s Real Salt Lake is separate from HBSE and is therefore excluded from the total valuation. For team owners that own their venue, like Monumental Sports & Entertainment, we do not list the venue (Capital One Arena) because its economics are included in the value of its teams (Wizards, Capitals, Mystics).
We use enterprise values, which include debt. This diverges fromForbes’ net worth estimates for individuals, which are net of debt.
Once again, Steve Ballmer is the richest owner in all of professional sports. The former Microsoft CEO, who purchased the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 for $2 billion, was named the richest owner in sports for the eighth straight year Wednesday by Forbes.
|Rank||Sports League||Revenue (USD billions)|
In the US, the number of teams is limited, making it more valuable to own one. American teams also have a salary cap, meaning that one of the major expenditures of sports teams is kept well under control. The leagues have no concept of relegation.
The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).
Spain's FC Barcelona is one of the second-richest football clubs in the world in 2022. Its net worth is valued at $5 billion, with a revenue of $692 million in 2021.
With skyrocketing revenue and mouth-watering profitability, NFL teams are now worth $4.47 billion on average, 28% more than just a year ago.
The wealthiest football club owner in the world in 2022 is Sheikh Mansour. He owns Manchester City and has a net worth of $30 billion.
Terry Pegula owns the Buffalo Bills, of the NFL , and the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL.
Besides large media contracts and more tangible items like tickets and concessions, professional sports leagues and teams also make a large sum of money by selling companies the rights to sell items that represent their league or team.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and the UEFA Champions League Final is one of its biggest events.
- National Football League. The National Football League (NFL) is a federation of professional American football associations. ...
- Indian Premier League. ...
- Major League Baseball. ...
- National Basketball Association. ...
- English Premier League. ...
- National Hockey League. ...
- La Liga Santander. ...
Making the announcement, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said that IPL had emerged as the second-most valuable sports league in the world, after the American National Football League (NFL), also having surpassed the English Premier League (EPL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Basketball Association league (NBA).
In 2021, the league earned $16 Billion and the amount is only expected to rise. Thus the National Football League is the world's richest and biggest sports league.
Professional sports teams are valuable properties, worth billions of dollars. Ticket sales, merchandise, broadcast rights, and marketing deals all contribute to the value of a franchise.
Louis Rams moved back to Los Angeles, Houston, which lacks an NHL team, became the largest metropolitan area that does not have a franchise in all four major professional sports.
As of 2017, the lowest valued team, the Buffalo Bills, is worth $1.5 billion.
Six of the world's top 10 teams in franchise value are American pro football teams, according to the Forbes valuation list for 2022. The list, released Thursday, pegs the Cowboys and Patriots as the most valuable team brands, estimating their worth at $8 billion and $6.4 billion, respectively.
List of NBA team values for 2021-22 season.
The Raps lead the bunch valued at $1.8 billion, followed by the Jays at $1.5 billion. The Leafs sit third in the group with a valuation of $1.45 billion. Per Forbes, the Raptors rank fifth in the biggest value gainers over the past five years at 222%.
NFL teams on average are worth $4.14 billion, 18 percent more than last year, with the cheapest team the Cincinnati Bengals at $2.84 billion, a new valuation study from Sportico reports.
The Cincinnati Bengals were deemed the least-valuable NFL franchise at US$2.84 billion, which put them narrow behind the Detroit Lions (US$2.86 billion).
Collectively, the value of NFL franchises, including team-related businesses and real estate held by owners, is $132 billion.
The latest ranking reported that the Dallas Cowboys is the most valuable NFL franchise after the 2021 NFL season. The fastest growing NFL franchise is the Buffalo Bills, with a 112.5% increase in valuation since the 2017 NFL season ($1.6 to $3.4 billion).
Real Madrid - $5.1 billion
Real Madrid is the richest football club in the world in 2022. It has a net value of $5.1 billion as of 2022. This team is based in Spain and is owned by various club members. It plays in the Spanish La Liga and is arguably the best soccer team in the world, at least financially, as of 2022.
The list is loaded with quarterbacks, with Tom Brady recently taking over the top spot. Below are the 34 highest-paid players in NFL history, heading into the 2022 season and updated with the help of data from Spotrac.com.
Like most jobs in America, an NBA referee's salary is based on both seniority and performance. Entry-level referees' compensation begins at $600 per game or roughly $250,000 per year. Seasoned or professional referees earn $3,500 per game or up to $550,000 annually.
The NFL makes more money than NBA players. NFL players average about $14 million a year, almost twice what NBA players make. The league spends nearly double as much on the players, as well, so they are able to attract higher TV audiences and generate more revenue.
Forbes: LA Clippers' Steve Ballmer richest owner in pro sports.
Toronto Maple Leafs franchise value from 2006 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)
|Characteristic||Franchise value in million U.S. dollars|
Toronto Raptors franchise value from 2003 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)
|Characteristic||Franchise value in million U.S. dollars|
Raptors were #1 with a wide margin in Toronto where they received more votes than the Maple Leafs and the Jays combined.