The NFL and college football are by far the biggest sports ventures in the United States, but it is once again a different type of football that dominates the list of the most valuable sports teams in the world. Soccer franchises fill up slots one,two and three on the 2014 list, while the NFL found itself relegated outside of the top four. Follow along as we count down the world’s 10 most valuable sports teams for 2014 Values and figures via Forbes
10. New York Giants — Value: $1.55 Billion
2013 didn’t go how the Giants had hoped, as a six-game losing streak to begin the campaign sunk the team’s season before it had a chance to really get underway. That did not, according to the Forbes piece, prevent the G-Men from averaging over 80,000 fans per home game. A fan base is a bit more forgiving when a team has won two Super Bowl championships within five years. The Giants have, since 2006, been a model NFL franchise. They compete more often than not. They win with class (minus an incident that involved a wide receiver shooting himself in the leg). All things considered, the Giants are today one of the top franchises in the NFL.
9. Washington Redskins — Value: $1.7 Billion
Washington is responsible for a roster that could compete for a title in 2014. Robert Griffin III is one of the more exciting young quarterbacks in the league. The ‘Skins have plenty of talent on both sides of the football, and some NFL insiders are predicting that Washington will win the division this upcoming season. And yet, the franchise continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons – well, one wrong reason in particular. Team owner Dan Snyder refuses to listen to logic regarding changing the last name of the club. Multiple publications around the country are now refusing to even print what some refer to as the “R-word.” Make the switch, Mr. Snyder, and let the team focus on football.
8. New England Patriots — Value: $1.8 Billion
Financially speaking, everything is just rosy for the Patriots. They sell out every home game, and they have, according to Forbes, done so every year since 1994. New England has, for over a decade, had a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and cover model as the team’s quarterback. The Pats have also enjoyed plenty of success since Tom Brady took over as the offense’s signal caller. All is not, however, well in the state of Denmark…er…Foxboro. Brady and company have not been able to get past Eli Manning and the Giants in two Super Bowl contests. Then, the Aaron Hernandez scandal and all that came with it led some to question how nobody within the team could have any idea what the tight end was up to during his off time.
7. Bayern Munich — Value: $1.85 Billion
Owning Bayern Munich is one of the easiest gigs in all of world football. They clinched the Bundesliga title this past season with six games left on their schedule. That would, to put it in perspective for those of you not crazy about German club soccer, be like an NFL team earning a division title right around Thanksgiving. The only true giants in German football (sorry, Borussia Dortmund), Bayern will again be favorites to win the league this coming season; and the season after that, and the season after that. They are Champions League mainstays, and they could cash in on a US TV deal in the near future.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers — Value: $2 Billion
Cynics looking to bury Major League Baseball and the sport in general can put their shovels away for now. Big League baseball is just fine in the two biggest markets in the United States. The Dodgers inked an incredible television deal in 2013, one that should keep the club in the top ten of such lists for years to come. Yasiel Puig is a 23-year-old who is a star for the now and for the future. LA, as of the posting of this piece, has the most wins of any team in the National League. Expect that the Dodgers will be in contention when fall arrives.
5. Dallas Cowboys — Value: $2.3 Billion
The Cowboys remain proof that a franchise doesn’t have to experience success on a yearly basis in order to remain recognized and valuable. Dallas fans have to either catch a TV special or pop in a VHS tape in order to watch Super Bowl highlights that feature America’s Team. Owner Jerry Jones continues to insist upon going all-in on quarterback Tony Romo despite the fact that Romo has never earned such trust. Big D’ hasn’t been all that big for some time, now. One has to believe that Jones will be kicking himself for years to come if Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel becomes a hit in the NFL. Manziel was there for the taking when the Cowboys were called to the podium at the 2014 NFL Draft, but the owner was (reportedly) talked out of taking Texas-born Johnny Football.
4. New York Yankees — Value: $2.5 Billion
They’re recognized all around the world. They are, far and away, the most successful sports franchise in the history of the United States. The Yanks recently got into the soccer game when they, along with Manchester City, invested in Major League Soccer expansion club New York City Football Club. Even those who aren’t fans of the team have to respect that the Yankees are the quintessential North American pro sports franchise. They have their own network, YES, that gets broadcast throughout the country. It’s an issue when the team doesn’t win a World Series once per decade. So long as there is a United States, there will be the Yankees.
3. Manchester United — Value: $2.81 Billion
If there is a soccer club in the United States that could be characterized as “America’s Team,” it’s most likely United. They are featured on television or via free Internet stream every weekend of the Premier League season. United are, 2013-14 aside, often championship contenders. They just got one heckuva manager in former Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal. The club’s worth goes beyond branding and name recognition. United recently put pen to paper on what is a massive and even somewhat ridiculous sponsorship deal with Adidas. That is the richest kit/uniform deal in sports history.
2. Barcelona — Value: $3.2 Billion
The supposed death of one of the two giants in Spanish and world football has, to steal a phrase, been greatly exaggerated. Barca still have who is, at worst, one of the two best players in the world in Lionel Messi. While new signing Luis Suarez has disgraced himself in games on numerous occasions, one cannot discount the talent that he brings to any side. Suarez is the best striker on the planet. Barcelona will, when construction is completed, have a home stadium that will seat 105,000 fans. While the balance of power is seemingly shifting toward Barca’s rivals (more on them next), it was Barcelona and not that club that finished second in the La Liga table.
1. Real Madrid — Value: $3.44 Billion
There is every other sports franchise in the world, and then there is Real Madrid. While they didn’t win the league title this past season, they did hoist the Champions League trophy, the most coveted club award to be won. One offseason after pulling off a historic transfer for former Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale, Real are bringing in two stars from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Toni Kroos of Germany and James Rodríguez of Colombia are both set to join the club. They are the best team in the world, and they also rake in more cash than any other sports franchise on the planet.