The value of sports teams

Date posted: September 6, 2010

Sports fans look at the teams they follow in the terms of wins and losses, but the teams are also a business — so looking at teams in the terms of dollars and cents is also important. N.C. Cooperative Extension economist Mike Walden discusses the value of prominent professional sports teams.

“Recently our friends at Forbes magazine put together some estimates. These are based on what the teams earn — including things like ticket sales, concessions, merchandise and media contracts. And interestingly in their estimation, the most valuable pro sports team in the world is a soccer team. It is the Manchester United soccer team; they operate out of Manchester, Great Britain. They are estimated to have a market value of $1.8 billion. Number two was back here in the U.S. — Dallas Cowboys — and number three, New York Yankees, both estimated to have a value of $1.6 billion.

“Here in North Carolina, our Carolina Panthers are valued at just over $1 billion. And interestingly if you look at the Forbes numbers — and they did 50 teams, the 50 richest teams — 32 of those teams were American football teams, six were American baseball teams and only two were NBA teams. And actually there were no hockey teams on the list.

“So very interesting that American football teams really collectively were the most valuable.”

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