The Most Valuable Sports Teams of All Time, Ranked
The sports industry’s wealth grows year after year. As a result, some franchises are worth millions of dollars — or even billions. A team’s fortune comes from many sources, including sponsorships and (sometimes) championships. Surprisingly, winning isn’t everything. With that being said, which team is the globe’s richest?
From soccer clubs to football leagues, here are the world’s most valuable sports teams of all time.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
Back in 1933, Art Rooney purchased the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise for $2,500. That was a brilliant move because his family scored big. The team is now worth a whopping $2.585 billion for the owners, The Daniel Rooney Trust and Art Rooney II.
It’s easy to see why this star team is so successful. According to WalletHub, the Steelers have the most dedicated football fan base who consistently get their minds blown by extraordinary players like Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount. It also helps that the franchise partners with powerful sponsors, such as Ford Motor Company, PepsiCo, MillerCoors and FedEx.
Value: $2.585 billion
29. Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
Stephen Bisciotti, co-founder of the Allegis Group talent-management company, has been the Baltimore Ravens’ owner since 2004. In the past 11 seasons, the team has won seven playoffs. They also took home their second set of Super Bowl rings in 2012.
Without a doubt, they’re kicking some butt. The Baltimore Ravens are also worth a fortune: $2.59 billion. Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Under Armour and Verizon Communications are some of the team’s proud sponsors. Plus, the fans pay top dollar for tickets, but it’s worth it. The franchise keeps fans happy with passionate performances by players, including Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden.
Value: $2.59 billion
28. Atlanta Falcons (NFL)
With no championships to their name, how do the Atlanta Falcons have such a high value? The answer is $1 billion in sponsorships.The franchise has monster deals with Coca-Cola, Home Depot, IBM and Mercedes-Benz. Plus, the team’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium brings in revenue.
In 2002, Arthur Blank bought the Atlanta Falcons for $545 million. Now, they’re worth $2.6 billion. Blank is no stranger to successful business ventures. He’s the co-founder of The Home Depot Inc. and owner of the Atlanta United FC, the Major League Soccer team.
Value: $2.6 billion
27. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
Shareholders and loyal fans own the Green Bay Packers. According to WalletHub, Green Bay and Pittsburgh tie for the “most engaged NFL fans.” Don’t believe us? When the team’s Lambeau Field is covered in snow, hundreds of volunteers shovel the stadium before game day.
Fans cough up a lot for tickets, but they can’t resist an unstoppable team with legendary players like Curly Lambeau, Brett Favre and Reggie White. Plus, fans aren’t the only ones propelling the team’s incoming revenue. The Green Bay Packers have national and local contracts with sponsors and television stations.
Value: $2.63 billion
26. Denver Broncos (NFL)
The Denver Broncos maintain the longest home sellout streak in NFL history. The team has played in two different venues, and fans keep on coming to see noteworthy players, like John Elway, Brian Griese, Jay Cutler, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning.
The Denver Broncos’ worth grew by 2% from 2018 to 2019, landing at an impressive $2.65 billion valuation. Although the team’s rank has dropped, it remains a valuable commodity. Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola are a couple of the franchise’s happy sponsors. The Broncos can also be spotted in many popular shows, including The Simpsons, Sesame Street and South Park.
Value: $2.65 billion
25. Manchester City (Soccer)
This treasured team has been in the game since 1880. Today, Manchester City’s value has exploded to $2.69 billion, increasing by 9% between 2018 and 2019. It’s no surprise how wealthy the franchise is. After all, the owner is United Arab Emirates royal Sheikh Mansour.
When Mansour purchased the club in 2008, he dropped $260 million. However, it paid off. The club is sponsored by many major businesses, such as Nike and Nissan. Securing a 10-year kit deal with Puma also helped, and that brings in $86 million a season.
Value: $2.69 billion
24. Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
Jeffrey Lurie is a big risk-taker. He founded Chestnut Hill Productions, where he created unprofitable movies. However, he also took a chance by purchasing the Philadelphia Eagles using a $185 million loan in 1994. In the end, it was worth the gamble.
The team is now valued at $2.75 billion. The notorious fans have played a part in the team’s success since being established in 1933. The franchise charges the highest average ticket price for an NFL game, but that doesn’t bother supporters. Philadelphia has a history of must-see players, including Chuck Bednarik, Brian Dawkins and Reggie White.
Value: $2.75 billion
23. Boston Celtics (NBA)
Only four NBA teams have higher values than the Boston Celtics. This great basketball team boasts 17 championships over its history, thrilling fans over and over again. The franchise has no problem selling seats at the TD Garden, even after the stadium added more during recent renovations.
The owners must be proud to have a highly ranked team worth a massive $2.8 billion. Plus, the team has secured many sponsorship deals, including a contract with GE to wear the company’s logo on the team’s iconic green-and-white jerseys.
Value: $2.8 billion
22. Houston Texans (NFL)
The Houston Texans have no championships to brag about, and they have the least-engaged NFL fans. With zero value growth between 2018 and 2019, it seems confusing for the team to be on this list. What is the team’s secret for such a high value?
The story starts with the team’s previous owner, Robert (Bob) McNair. In 1999, McNair went into excessive debt after buying the newly established Houston Texans. However, he knocked out those debts, collected monster sponsor deals and brought two Super Bowls to the team’s NRG Stadium in 2004 and 2017. He turned the Texans into one of the most valuable teams in the world.
Value: $2.8 billion
21. New York Jets (NFL)
Established in 1959, the New York Jets have only appeared in the Super Bowl once. The good news is that the team showed up and dominated the field. They’ve also had highly respected players on their roster throughout history, including Don Maynard, Joe Namath and Mark Gastineau.
When it comes to championships, the current New York Jets aren’t as triumphant as the team was in the past. However, the team has one strong position; the Jets are still one of the most valuable teams on the planet.
Value: $2.85 billion
20. Chicago Bears (NFL)
The Chicago Bears have only won one Super Bowl: XX in 1986. But don’t let that number fool you into thinking the team loses all its games. The Bears actually have a whopping 769 wins — the most victories in NFL history.
The McCaskey family founded the Chicago Bears in 1920 and continue to run the history-making team. The Bears have honored more players in the Hall of Fame than any franchise in the NFL, with a record of 26 Hall of Famers. The team’s greatest rival, the Green Bay Packers, comes in second.
Value: $2.9 billion
19. Chicago Bulls (NBA)
Valued at $2.9 billion, the Chicago Bulls are on top of the world with the fourth-highest value in the NBA. The team became globally famous in the 1990s when it gloriously captured six championships (including two three-peats) from 1991 to 1998.
Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson weren’t the only members who led the team to victory. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest NBA players in history, also played a major role in the team’s success. Plus, the Chicago Bulls set incredible records, including becoming the first team to win 70 games or more in a single NBA season. However, the record was recently broken by another team on this list.
Value: $2.9 billion
18. San Francisco Giants (MLB)
This Bay Area franchise was founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, one of the oldest teams in the Major League. In 1958, the team moved to San Francisco, becoming the Giants we all know today. This beloved team has a lot to boast about.
The San Francisco Giants’ worth keeps increasing year after year. In 2019, the team’s value rose to $3 billion, a solid 5% growth from 2018. The Giants aren’t the richest baseball team in the world, but they are champions with the most winning games of all teams in MLB history.
Value: $3 billion
17. Bayern Munich (Soccer)
With a record of 29 national titles and 19 national cups, Bayern Munich is known as the best soccer club in Germany’s history. And its history is a long one, starting with the team’s founding in 1900. Today, the team leads the German soccer league system.
Bayern Munich tasted its glory days in the mid-1970s. However, this elite sports team is still ahead of the game with a strong value. The team has also gained die-hard fans from around the world, who will never forget the successful goals of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
Value: $3.02 billion
16. San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
Winning has boosted the San Francisco 49ers’ popularity and wealth throughout its history. Formed in 1946, the team has played in seven Super Bowls and won five championships between 1981 and 1994. With legendary players like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Steve Young, how could the 49ers fail?
Today, this star team is worth $3.05 billion. Some income comes from the team’s former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. His movement sparked a nationwide debate and increased the team’s merchandise revenue. Kaepernick jerseys and gear became the hottest items in the NFL.
Value: $3.05 billion
5. Chicago Cubs (MLB)
Known as the North Siders, the Chicago Cubs are three-time World Series champions, dominating the major leagues in 1907, 1908 and 2016. The team has actually appeared in 11 World Series since forming in 1876. The Cubs have also appeared in a few popular movies, including Back to the Future Part II, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Rookie of the Year.
With a value of $3.1 billion, the Cubs’ worth continues to grow. That’s great news for the Ricketts family, the owners who paid $900 million for the team in 2009. The money also keeps rolling in thanks to powerful sponsorships with companies including Toyota and Marriott.
Value: $3.1 billion
14. Washington Redskins (NFL)
The Washington Redskins have had a long and rich history since 1932. Some great moments include rookie Sammy Baugh leading the team to win two NFL championships and Joe Riggins’ lighting up the field at Super Bowl XVII with a 43-yard touchdown run.
Racking up a total of three championships, the Washington Redskins keep conquering the field and the world. The franchise is worth $3.1 billion, making it one of the most valuable sports teams on the planet. However, the team has had its share of controversy regarding its name and logo, which many people criticize as offensive to Native Americans.
Value: $3.1 billion
13. Los Angeles Rams (NFL)
The Rams weren’t always in Los Angeles. Founded in 1936, the Rams were originally formed in Cleveland, Ohio, before relocating to LA. However, the team didn’t stay in Los Angeles. In 1995, the franchise began playing in St. Louis, Missouri, returning to the City of Angels in 2016.
It’s no surprise that the Rams are a valuable franchise with a worth of $3.2 billion. Despite all the moving, the Rams have a record of famous players such as William “Bud” Cooper, Harry “The Horse” Mattos, Mike Sebastian and Stan Pincura. Plus, the team has captured a total of three championships.
Value: $3.2 billion
12. Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Throughout its history, the Red Sox have won nine World Series with many unforgettable moments. Some fan favorites include Slaughter’s Mad Dash in 1946, The Impossible Dream in 1967 and the error of Bill Buckner in 1986. The Red Sox’s history also features the famous Babe Ruth and an intense rivalry with the New York Yankees.
Ruth, a.k.a. the Bambino, brought a lot of success to the Red Sox — until he was sold to the Yankees in 1919, when the mythical “Curse of the Bambino” began. The Red Sox endured a dry spell for 86 years. Today, this organization is the third most valuable team in the MLB.
Value: $3.2 billion
11. Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Established in 1883, the Dodgers were formed in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. One of the most prominent players in the franchise’s history was Jackie Robinson, the first African American MLB player and Hall of Famer. Robinson helped the team win six pennants and the 1955 World Series.
The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and played well. However, the team became more dominant after Guggenheim Baseball Management paid $2.15 billion for the team in 2012. The Dodgers haven’t lost a single season.
Value: $3.3 billion
10. New York Giants (NFL)
With eight NFL championships to their name, the New York Giants have a powerful dynasty. They’ve had incredible eras with elite players, such as Eli Manning, Lawrence Taylor and Joe Morrison. The team has also honored a total of 29 Hall of Famers.
Today, the Giants are worth over $3 billion. It’s also no surprise that the team has a massive, dedicated fan base. The Giants keep thrilling fans with 19 championship appearances and a famous rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles that’s existed since 1933.
Value: $3.3 billion
9. Golden State Warriors (NBA)
Many struggles and injuries have plagued the Warriors’ dynasty. However, the franchise’s incredible moments outshine all the bad times. They’ve had memorable eras built by famous players like Paul Arizin, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin.
Recently, the Warriors have won three NBA championships and shattered several records, including the most wins in a single season. Star players Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry (the highest-paid player in basketball) continue to lead the team to success. With so many victories, it’s no surprise that the team’s average ticket cost has skyrocketed to $245.
Value: $3.5 billion
8. Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
The world’s second most valuable NBA team is the Los Angeles Lakers. The team has racked up 16 championships thanks to household names such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Today, the Lakers are powered by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Although the Lakers haven’t won a championship since 2010, they’re still considered NBA royalty. The purple-and-gold franchise is worth $3.7 billion, and its sponsors are here to stay. Delta Air Lines, a long-time supporter of the team, recently extended its sponsorship deal.
Value: $3.7 billion
7. New England Patriots (NFL)
The New England Patriots have built a strong dynasty led by coach Bill Belichick and former quarterback Tom Brady. The two helped the team achieve six Super Bowl wins in nine appearances. The results? A massive, loyal fan base and a loaded franchise.
Owner Robert Kraft purchased the team for $175 million in 1994. Now, the team has exploded in value. The Patriots’ major success has produced sellout streaks and a 12-year waitlist for season tickets.
Value: $3.8 billion
6. Manchester United (Soccer)
Also known as the Red Devils, Manchester United is the third most valuable soccer team in the world. The owners, the Glazer family, have plenty to boast about. After all, the team is worth $3.81 billion. Enormous deals with Nike, Adidas and the MUTV channel make big bucks.
Considering the impressive sponsorships, the Red Devils are talented. The team has scored more trophies than all English clubs. Plus, the Red Devils became the first English soccer team in history to earn the continental European treble.
Value: $3.81 billion
5. New York Knicks (NBA)
The New York Knickerbockers, better known as the Knicks, have won two NBA championships — in 1970 and 1973. It’s clear that the team hasn’t dominated basketball in decades. However, the Knicks have had some great moments, including Jeremy Lin’s rise to Linsanity.
The franchise’s value grew 11% in 2019, exploding to $4 billion. Why are the Knicks worth so much? The organization makes a fortune thanks to the Knicks’ alluring game venue, Madison Square Garden. The venue is a common bucket-list item for travelers who visit New York City.
Value: $4 billion
4. Barcelona (Soccer)
Founded in 1899, Barcelona has the motto of being “Més que un club” (“More than a club”). Many soccer teams are owned by wealthy individuals, but Barcelona is controlled by club members and supporters. Barcelona’s history is known for its long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid.
Its history also includes plenty of victories, like the 20 European and worldwide titles along with 74 domestic trophies. Lionel Messi’s jaw-dropping performance drives the team’s revenue. Plus, it helps that the franchise secured a monster deal with Nike.
Value: $4.02 billion
3. Real Madrid (Soccer)
With a value of $4.24 billion, Real Madrid ranks third overall as the most valuable sports team in the world. In the soccer universe, the team has the highest worth among all clubs. It’s easy to see why Real Madrid is the leading force in professional soccer.
During the 1950s, Real Madrid exploded in popularity in its country and across all of Europe. The star team won five European cups back to back. From 2009 to 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo’s outstanding career skyrocketed the team’s value.
Value: $4.24 billion
2. New York Yankees (MLB)
Established in 1901, the New York Yankees are often considered the greatest team in sports history. When it comes to monetary worth, the Yankees rank second as the most valuable sports team in the world. However, the franchise is still filthy rich, with a value of $4.6 billion.
The Yankees have a long history of setting records and dominating the MLB. For instance, they’ve racked up 27 World Series championships, 19 American League East Division titles and 40 American League pennants. Some famous Hall of Famers from the team include Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.
Value: $4.6 billion
1. Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
Dubbed “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys are the most expensive sports team in the world. This isn’t the team’s first time ranking No. 1 — the Dallas Cowboys have been at the top for four years in a row.
A few factors contribute to the Cowboys’ wealth, including five Super Bowl wins and many national TV appearances. The biggest reason the franchise is worth so much is due to its $1.2 billion home stadium, which grows the team’s value every year. So how ’bout them Cowboys?
Value: $5 billion