The Super Bowl is one of the most anticipated events of the year in America, and it's estimated that over 108.4 million people will watch it in 2014. What’s shocking is that that number is the lowest it’s been in four years, about three million viewers shy of the next-lowest. However, that barely puts a dent in its immense viewership, which is still as strong as ever. And whenever you have such huge and loyal followings around a topic, you can be sure that there’s big money involved.
An interesting thing about the NFL is that regardless of how good or bad a team is, a player will still make big money. Even the worst player on the worst-ranked team still makes large sums of cash (as in hundreds of thousands a year). Just goes to show how big a business football is in America, they don’t pull any strings.
The amount of money being tossed around by fans and teams means that some of the highest-valued teams (financially) aren’t necessarily the best teams in the NFL. Even with their immense financial value, some teams just can’t seem to win a Super Bowl championship, and some can’t even reach the Super Bowl itself. While it would be easy to assume that there is a direct correlation between financial worth and skill, or results, that’s not always the case.
That brings us to this list, within which we’ll see who has been making the money without “delivering the goods.” To be clear, it’s obvious that just because a team doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. Still, sports are rather unique as a business in that results are often non-factors in financial success.
That said, here are the 6 highest valued football teams that have never won a Super Bowl in their careers.
(Stats via Forbes)
6 Minnesota Vikings - Valued at $1 Billion
Kicking off the countdown is a team that has been to the Super Bowl four times. Unfortunately for them, the team has also lost the Super Bowl four times. Still, today their worth is well over a billion dollars, which is by no means a number to laugh at.
The team brings in yearly revenue of $234 million, and is in the process of renovating its stadium. With the upgrades accounted for, the Vikings should be able to bring in an extra $40 million per year – not too shabby, even for a team with such a high value.
5 Tennessee Titans - Valued at $1.05 Billion
The Titans franchise began its existence in the 1960’s, then going by the name the “Houston Oilers.” It wasn’t until 1999 that the team re-established itself as the “Titans,” which we know it as to this day.
The Titans annual revenue is a solid $270 million, which is pretty good – especially considering the team’s 60-70% loss rate in the last two years. It’s only had one shot at the Super Bowl championship before, losing to the Rams 23 to 16 on January 30, 2000.
4 Carolina Panthers - Valued at $1.06 Billion
Carolina officially had this franchise established on October 26, 1993, with a little help from owner Jerry Richardson, who spent $206 million to buy the team. A neat tidbit about this team: it’s one of the only franchises that actually own the stadium it plays in, the building named "Panthers Stadium, LLC."
Each year, the team makes about $271 million, a pretty impressive number, even by NFL standards. Still, despite all the cash the team has flowing in, it doesn’t seem to be able to seal the deal and bring home a championship. In 2004, the Panthers lost its Super Bowl title match versus the New England Patriots. It was the first and only appearance the team made in the big game. Needless to say, it awaits a second chance to bring home the trophy.
3 Seattle Seahawks - Valued at $1.08 Billion
The Seahawks are about to have a second shot at Super Bowl stardom after having lost its first attempt in 2005. The team may have the loudest fans around, as the stomps by the Seahawks section were so loud during a wild play in 2011 that it was measured by a seismic monitoring station a hundred miles away. We’ll see if they can match that intensity for the 2014 Super Bowl as well.
The Seahawks earn revenues of $270 million each year. Though it’s less than, or equal to, the last two franchises, it doesn’t change the fact that the overall value of the Seahawks is still higher than theirs.
UPDATE: The Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in the 2014 Super Bowl, removing themselves from this list.
2 Philadelphia Eagles - Valued at $1.31 Billion
The Eagles had two shots at the Super Bowl title; once against the Raiders in 1981, and once against the New England Patriots in 2005. Unfortunately for the team and its fans, the Eagles lost the big game both times. Despite those losses, the Eagles are a quite a high-value NFL team, pulling in about $306 million annually.
1 Houston Texans - Valued at $1.45 Billion
At the top of the list of highest-value non-winners is the Houston Texans. Despite never having the opportunity to participate in the super bowl, the Texans franchise is among the highest-value teams in the NFL. It generates a staggering $47 million each year off of its 200 luxury suites and 8,900 club seats - a big factor in its annual earnings of $320 million. Still, when compared to the Dallas Cowboys’ five Super Bowl championships and $2.1 billion valuation, the Houston Texans are very much just the “other” Texas football team.