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Sharing the wealth has made NFL owners the richest in the world

Jerry Jones AP

Forbes magazine is out with its annual estimate of the value of all of the world’s major sports franchises, and it’s a list that says something about just how much of a financial juggernaut the NFL has become.

According to Forbes, all 32 of the NFL’s franchises are among the 52 most valuable franchises in the world. (Forbes touts its list as the Top 50 global sports franchises, but the magazine notes that the Rams and Jaguars would check in at No. 51 and No. 52.)

Spanish soccer team Real Madrid is the most valuable franchise, with an estimated value of $3.3 billion, and it’s followed by two more European soccer teams, Barcelona and Manchester United. The New York Yankees are fourth, at $2.3 billion.

But what separates the NFL from European soccer and Major League Baseball is revenue sharing: No individual NFL franchise is worth as much as the biggest soccer clubs or the most popular baseball team, but even the bottom NFL franchises are worth much more than the mid-level teams in soccer and baseball. The revenues from the NFL’s enormous national television popularity are split 32 ways, making every owner very rich.

Only seven soccer and seven baseball teams made the Top 50 list, along with three NBA teams, two Formula 1 auto racing teams and one NHL team. In other sports, the rich teams are very rich, but the teams in the middle and the teams at the bottom are much poorer than the middle and bottom teams in the NFL. Splitting the revenue pie evenly has been very good for everyone in the NFL.

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66 Responses to “Sharing the wealth has made NFL owners the richest in the world”
  1. bucrightoff says: Jul 16, 2013 4:19 PM

    Every year there are about 4 NBA teams, 6 NHL teams and 8 MLB teams with a legit chance to win it all. In the NFL, all 32 teams can dream of a legit chance. Parity makes the NFL the king of all sports. Every fan base except maybe the Jets can dream of the Super Bowl this year

  2. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jul 16, 2013 4:19 PM

    Football and baseball run differently and it would make no sense for either sport to embrace the other’s system.

    The lions’ share of NFL money comes from their national TV deal with the Direct TV and the national networks. On the other hand baseball is splintered into 30 separate networks that broadcast 162 games each.

    Baseball is also far more dependent on home game ticket sales than the NFL teams- 81 baseball home games each vs 8 NFL home games.

  3. Stiller43 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:19 PM

    So what youre saying is communism works?

  4. davekezer says: Jul 16, 2013 4:20 PM

    Building stadiums using mostly tax-payer money and then charging tax-payers exorbitant prices on tickets/parking/concessions helps a bit, too.

  5. nfl4days says: Jul 16, 2013 4:20 PM

    And yet they want public money for stadiums.

  6. green41563 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:21 PM

    Meanwhile, MLB remains a joke with a raft of worthless small-market franchises that have no hope of winning anything.

  7. unfkwthabl says: Jul 16, 2013 4:23 PM

    Salary cap has helped as well. Sort of prevents teams from just buying up all-pros.

    One of the best parts of the NFL is that almost anyone can win each year… well, cept the browns and jags.

    Even Raider fans have hope… not sure where it comes from… but they do!

    lets say there is an NBA team that hasn’t been over 500 in a decade… would they realistically have a shot to all of a sudden win their division and maybe a title? nope…

    same as baseball… you have a few great teams, couple of good ones… the rest are cannon fodder.

  8. godofwine330 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:24 PM

    The owners of other sports leagues didn’t get what Pete Rozelle did in the 60’s. Along with the Mara Family, Art Modell and others they put together a way to combine TV and other revenue to make it profitable for all.

  9. evilglazers666 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:24 PM

    If they are so rich then why do Billionare owners ask for tax dollars to fund stadiums and their other investments? This is contributing to the Trillions of dept our nation has! Maybe they should take responsibility and fork up a small chunk of their worth and pay for stuff themselves?

  10. blackbug99 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:25 PM

    I want a Forbes list on who, in the sporting “Top 52,” stiffs the fans the most for a beer at an event!!

  11. briang123 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:26 PM

    Socialism. What a concept! We should try that here in America and we’ll all be wealthy in no time!

    In all seriousness, it isn’t revenue sharing that made all of these owners rich. It is the vast popularity of the NFL. They’d still all be wealthy and the franchise would be insanely valuable without revenue sharing.

  12. taintedsaints2009 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:27 PM

    all sharing the wealth does in any form of business is make life more expensive for the consumers.

  13. safranic03 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:27 PM

    That’s because everyone you know, tried to be competitive and successful through hard work.

    Quit trying to justify socialism, half the people in this country simply don’t want to work and contribute.

  14. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 16, 2013 4:28 PM

    bucrightoff:

    Parity in this league isn’t very good imo. Baseball has no salary cap and has tremendous parity still, at least in comparison to the NFL that has more rules to try and create parity.

  15. 2jivecrew says: Jul 16, 2013 4:29 PM

    And yet they want the taxpayer to foot the bill for thier stadiums. And they’ve got the fans trained to believe that 8 games a year is such a “boon” to the economy. And to think the NFL is considered a “non profit”. What a joke.

  16. jwcarlson says: Jul 16, 2013 4:29 PM

    And they still can’t pay for their own office buildings (stadiums). Sad… take out a freaking loan like the rest of us plebs.

  17. blackbug99 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:30 PM

    Oh, and maybe they should share the wealth and “group fund” their own damn stadiums!!

  18. jmak79 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:30 PM

    How much do soccer players make?

  19. ammarradhi says: Jul 16, 2013 4:32 PM

    How rich do they have to get to start paying for their own stadiums then?

  20. herlies says: Jul 16, 2013 4:33 PM

    In this league, all teams have hope. The NFL sells hope. You can turn it around in one year and go from a bottom-feeder to a playoff team.

    Revenue sharing, franchise tag, hard salary cap, worst records draft first, harder schedule for the better teams, ect…

    The other sports leagues including club soccer just don’t compare.

  21. allday28mvpmvp says: Jul 16, 2013 4:35 PM

    bucrightoff says:
    Jul 16, 2013 4:19 PM
    Every year there are about 4 NBA teams, 6 NHL teams and 8 MLB teams with a legit chance to win it all. In the NFL, all 32 teams can dream of a legit chance. Parity makes the NFL the king of all sports. Every fan base except maybe the Jets can dream of the Super Bowl this year

    ———
    Whoa slow down now. It is not accurate to say EVERY NFL team legitimately has a chance of winning the Super Bowl. I’d say maybe 12 teams have a legit shot, 15 if we are being generous.

    Jags, Bills, Redskins, Titans, Bucs, Eagles, Browns, Panthers, Colts, Dolphins, Rams and Raiders
    These teams have a shot at the SuperBowl next season? No way

  22. glazerh8er says: Jul 16, 2013 4:35 PM

    As great as the league is, no matter how much they believe in Matt Ryan and his tender little hands, the Falcons will NEVER win a Superbowl.

  23. trollaikman8 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:40 PM

    Don’t tell the libertarians about socialist policies working.

    Keep your government hands off of their medicare!

  24. harryglyphics says: Jul 16, 2013 4:45 PM

    It’s because Fantasy Football is the most accessible sport in the country.
    Women play Fantasy Football; they don’t play fantasy golf

  25. gettingpwned says: Jul 16, 2013 4:47 PM

    Good thing they had to lock out the players so they didn’t make too much money….

  26. randomcommenter says: Jul 16, 2013 5:01 PM

    The NFL has smartly realized that they are only competitors on the field. Off the field, they are all just branch offices of the same company.

    So, it’s not revenue sharing out of some concept of fairness. It’s the realization that too many bad teams hurts the overall popularity of the league. That’s why baseball struggles. Too many teams have no shot at all before the first pitch is thrown.

    The NFL also allows each team to prosper on their own with revenue that is not shared. So you can make lots of extra money if you make your team a success.

    It should also be pointed out that the NFL has so e shared revenue and a salary cap but they also have a salary floor. You can’t just pocket the cash taken from richer teams.

    Baseball puts a luxury tax on rich teams and gives it to poor teams but does not have a spending floor. The result is several bad teams with poor attendance that actually make more profit than the big team trying to win. They have deadbeat owners who just pocket the cash and put out a cheap triple A level team.

    Sharing with strings is good. Handouts are bad.

  27. demolition510 says: Jul 16, 2013 5:01 PM

    Have them pay for their own stadiums !

  28. timbuttrum says: Jul 16, 2013 5:07 PM

    This and a salary cap. Baseball sucks

  29. timbuttrum says: Jul 16, 2013 5:08 PM

    Arod making more than the Astros is bad for the sport.

  30. jwt301 says: Jul 16, 2013 5:08 PM

    Funny how differently people think about things when it actually affects them.

    Revenue sharing is nothing more than privatized socialism and I’m sure the majority of these billionaire NFL owners HATE Obama and have criticized him (unfairly of course) of being a socialist.

    Oh, the irony….

  31. brocattosbasement says: Jul 16, 2013 5:09 PM

    Interesting article and some great info, but I really would like to have known who was the top NFL team. Maybe the top 10.

  32. bucrightoff says: Jul 16, 2013 5:10 PM

    allday28mvpmvp says:Jul 16, 2013 4:35 PM

    Whoa slow down now. It is not accurate to say EVERY NFL team legitimately has a chance of winning the Super Bowl. I’d say maybe 12 teams have a legit shot, 15 if we are being generous.

    Jags, Bills, Redskins, Titans, Bucs, Eagles, Browns, Panthers, Colts, Dolphins, Rams and Raiders
    These teams have a shot at the SuperBowl next season? No way
    ______________
    Hmm, you leave off the Vikings, who have a worse QB than every team on that list except the Raiders, Browns, Jags and Bills. Well done. Vikings should be in that group, but your handle/homerism prevents that. The Colts and Redskins made the playoffs last year, but now they have no shot? Weird…

  33. rmc1995 says: Jul 16, 2013 5:12 PM

    It is not sharing the wealth, it is revenue sharing. If Jones sells the Cowboys, he’s not going to split the $2.1 billion with other owners.

    If Kraft dies be doesn’t have to forfeit his wealth from the Pats to the other owners.

    Khan can’t use the wealth of the Cowboys to get a loan.

    The owners are franchise owners and split revenues from the success of the product they sell.

  34. SilentMajority says: Jul 16, 2013 5:22 PM

    Actually, I would say that the law of supply and demand made the owners rich. The NFL has steadily gained popularity since the invention of the television, and even more once fantasy football went online, so the NFL’s product has always been popular. The difference between the NFL, and everyone else is that by the very nature of the game the product has to be limited, so demand can never be met, and owners and players can demand higher prices.

    To quote an Englishman from a Wall Street Journal article from a few years back, “Soccer is called the beautiful game. But football is chess, played with real pieces that try to knock each other’s brains out. It doesn’t get any more beautiful than that.”

    And that my friends is what made the owners of the NFL rich…

  35. wamj2008 says: Jul 16, 2013 5:23 PM

    The NFL collective sure makes a lot of money in our free market economy. This so-called socialism is supported by American capitalism, so don’t pretend it would work in every day life for everyone else.

  36. allday28mvpmvp says: Jul 16, 2013 5:27 PM

    bucrightoff says:
    Jul 16, 2013 5:10 PM
    allday28mvpmvp says:Jul 16, 2013 4:35 PM

    Whoa slow down now. It is not accurate to say EVERY NFL team legitimately has a chance of winning the Super Bowl. I’d say maybe 12 teams have a legit shot, 15 if we are being generous.

    Jags, Bills, Redskins, Titans, Bucs, Eagles, Browns, Panthers, Colts, Dolphins, Rams and Raiders
    These teams have a shot at the SuperBowl next season? No way
    ______________
    Hmm, you leave off the Vikings, who have a worse QB than every team on that list except the Raiders, Browns, Jags and Bills. Well done. Vikings should be in that group, but your handle/homerism prevents that. The Colts and Redskins made the playoffs last year, but now they have no shot? Weird…

    ———-

    The Vikings won 10 games last year and improved their team by adding playmakers (Jennings, Patterson). So yeah I left off the 10 win Vikings. The Colts and Redskins have good QBs and nothing else. Its that simple.

  37. jamaltimore says: Jul 16, 2013 5:29 PM

    Monopolies usually work very well when all the owners collude to own and run the market as one. This extends down to the NCAA farm system for them as well.

    Monopolies are part of Capitalism and while most economists see them as a bad thing it’s working very well for 32 families who control their market and reap all the profits.

  38. justintuckrule says: Jul 16, 2013 5:37 PM

    After Goodell successfully neuters defenses and makes this league only interesting to non-ticket buying fantasy football geeks, no amount of revenue sharing will fill these stadiums and this league will finally collapse under the weight of its own greed.

  39. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 16, 2013 5:42 PM

    Mr Forbes is rapidly rising to the top of his own list through kickbacks and bribes from the wealthy of the world. He has never been able to understand why it’s so important to them to move up a few positions on the list, but hey, what the heck?

  40. wearewhowethoughtwewere says: Jul 16, 2013 5:44 PM

    But remember when everyone was up in arms over the overpaid athlete “whining” during the lockout…

    It’s sad to think joke owners like Mike Brown of the Bengals, are some of the wealthiest men in the world.

  41. kabasaman says: Jul 16, 2013 5:58 PM

    That’s why ticket prices start at over $100 and up to $400 for average seats. The world has gone nuts.

  42. youarejealousof6rings says: Jul 16, 2013 5:59 PM

    bucrightoff says:

    Jul 16, 2013 4:19 PM
    Every year there are about 4 NBA teams, 6 NHL teams and 8 MLB teams with a legit chance to win it all. In the NFL, all 32 teams can dream of a legit chance. Parity makes the NFL the king of all sports. Every fan base except maybe the Jets can dream of the Super Bowl this year
    _________________________________

    While in theory you are correct, the disparity still shows itself in the talent evaluation. Some are clearly better than others.

  43. patriots123456 says: Jul 16, 2013 6:01 PM

    The top NFL Team in net-worth was Dallas;

    I believe New England was 2nd.

  44. mayfieldroadboy says: Jul 16, 2013 6:14 PM

    The NFL is a company that sells franchises to select cities. McDonalds is a company that sells franchises to any person in any city in any part of this world. See the similarity?

  45. axespray says: Jul 16, 2013 6:19 PM

    allday28mvpmvp says:
    Jul 16, 2013 5:27 PM
    “The Vikings won 10 games last year and improved their team by adding playmakers (Jennings, Patterson). So yeah I left off the 10 win Vikings. The Colts and Redskins have good QBs and nothing else. Its that simple.”
    ———————————–
    So a Project who could flop and a Guy that looked good with Rodgers/Favre throwing to him are automatically better than Percy’s Production?
    No Antonie Winfield, who do the vikes have at corner worth respecting?
    Didn’t the Redskins blow out the vikings these last two years?
    I recall Rex Grossman or was it John Beck hanging over 30 points on that garbage D.

  46. zeke2517 says: Jul 16, 2013 6:24 PM

    Hooray for socialism. Only for rich people, though. The rest of us shall continue cutting each other’s throats to pay the rent.

  47. jayrandle says: Jul 16, 2013 6:36 PM

    Wow….I remember coming to this blog during the NFL lockout and reading many comments bashing the players and calling the players greedy. Many supported the Owners during the time the locked out the Players…as the claim they was losing money.
    We can google players contracts but owners lie and hide their wealth.
    We don’t pay for players homes but we pay for Owners stadiums.
    Who is really the greedy ones?

  48. holdthemayo123 says: Jul 16, 2013 6:44 PM

    There is revenue sharing in MLB, not just NFL.

  49. abnparatrooper says: Jul 16, 2013 6:56 PM

    @allday28mvpmvp think back to 1999 the rams won the Super Bowl that year after going 4-12 the year before. Just about any team in the NFL can pull one out of their a** and surprise everyone. And to say the colts ( who went 11-5 last year and made the playoffs) do not have at least a chance to win the Super Bowl is ignorant.

  50. granadafan says: Jul 16, 2013 7:13 PM

    Remember, this is a “non-profit” organization that pays no taxes. Yet, they demand hundreds of millions from taxpayers from their lavish work places with spas, leather, 5 star clubs, luxury boxes, etc.

  51. gdeli says: Jul 16, 2013 7:16 PM

    and jerry jnes is still a freaking control freak. At least ziggy wilf w/vikes lets go and ad has trusted, capable people run the show LIKE THEY SHOULD. ha Jerry can’t or won’t do hat so the cowboys are screwed for the future. I feel sorry for their fans. Someday he’ll be out of there. probably after he dies with a RIGID guy like that.

  52. gdeli says: Jul 16, 2013 7:18 PM

    I would be happy to own the 31st or 32nd place team! ha

  53. jerrysglassescleaner says: Jul 16, 2013 7:21 PM

    Dallas Cowboys most valuable in the NFL and we have been on a big losing streak. Shows you how loyal our fans are.

  54. donth8thehorns says: Jul 16, 2013 7:43 PM

    Packer fans are so predictable … Taking a shot @ the Vikings every chance they get! We get it, u have won more Super Bowls! That’s all you can argue! Other then cheese curds & and a 8 home games a year, the only people that step into Wisconsin are fueling up their cars on their way from Chicago to Minneapolis! U can have your 5 “rings”… I’ll settle for a better team in 2013, and living in a booming economic metropolis that is building the best stadium in the world! You guys keep living in the past!
    I’m ok with paying more for gas, cigs, and energy drinks , the new stadium has created 5000 new jobs alone, projected to employ 3000 more, and increase local business development significantly over the next 10 years! The city and it’s people benefit from that , not just the Wilf family

  55. EJ says: Jul 16, 2013 7:56 PM

    That’s what I love about the NFL, every team in the league has a legitimate chance to make it to and win the Super Bowl. Small Market teams aren’t as small as they used to be and therefore, any team can win on any given Sunday. Yes there are teams that have more success than others, but that has more to do with their coaching and front office personnel than it does with star players.

  56. theseekeroffun says: Jul 16, 2013 8:16 PM

    Ford, GM, GE and the like do the same.

  57. bigbluefan1 says: Jul 16, 2013 8:29 PM

    Now everyone repeat after me

    Thank you Mr Mara.

    Yes the Giants who gave up the most money with the sharing deal are the team that started the ball rolling.

    If not for the shared TV cash the NFL would be done over with gone. So for all you folks in the fly over states yes you can thank the New York Football Giants for your sunday afternoon beer bashes

    Funny the same team also built there own new Stadium yes they charge alot but it is being used to pay for the Stadium.

  58. holdthemayo123 says: Jul 16, 2013 8:41 PM

    granadafan says: Jul 16, 2013 7:13 PM

    Remember, this is a “non-profit” organization that pays no taxes. Yet, they demand hundreds of millions from taxpayers from their lavish work places with spas, leather, 5 star clubs, luxury boxes, etc.

    ——–

    To be clear, the NFL is non profit, not the actual teams. It is the TEAMS that are asking for taxpayer money.

  59. davemishsr says: Jul 16, 2013 11:19 PM

    If they are so damn rich then they should do away with the blackout rule and locally televise all home games!

  60. cavemanatl says: Jul 17, 2013 6:08 AM

    I think non-guaranteed contracts is the real difference maker for the NFL. They are able to dump and reload faster and easier for injuries and non-performance than any other sport. That allows them to field competitive teams every year while other teams must eat bad contracts and/or are hamstrung by bad deals. I do agree that players need protection but this difference gives the nfl owners an advantage. Having competitive teams in every market mAkes every game watchable every week. No other major sport has that. I also agree that it’s not socialism. It’s all one company with franchises in differently markets, not different companies competing in an industry.

  61. bengalsneedagm says: Jul 17, 2013 6:21 AM

    Actually, it’s Fantasy Football that has made NFL owners the richest in the world

  62. mikemannion62 says: Jul 17, 2013 10:53 AM

    I love reading all these people saying for owners to build their own stadiums to them I say stop crying in most cases those stadiums we are now spending billions to create are being built because we the people approved it…. And yes they do provide an economic boom, I am a small business owner in Glendale AZ., and I profit from the university of Phoenix stadium being here because it brings marquee events like Wrestlemania, the fiesta bowl, BCS title game and the Super Bowl

  63. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 17, 2013 4:58 PM

    There are probably less than 10 organizations that are carrying the entire NFL.

  64. jwcarlson says: Jul 19, 2013 12:17 PM

    The drop from 30% to 25% might make me a buyer.

    Let’s be honest… $372,000,000 is outragous just to get your feet wet. $310,000,000 is much more reasonable.

  65. jwcarlson says: Jul 19, 2013 12:18 PM

    mikemannion62 says:
    Jul 17, 2013 10:53 AM
    I love reading all these people saying for owners to build their own stadiums to them I say stop crying in most cases those stadiums we are now spending billions to create are being built because we the people approved it…. And yes they do provide an economic boom, I am a small business owner in Glendale AZ., and I profit from the university of Phoenix stadium being here because it brings marquee events like Wrestlemania, the fiesta bowl, BCS title game and the Super Bowl
    ————————————–

    If you’re running the parking situation down there in Glendale you are doing a terrible job. Just so you know.

  66. scout4282001 says: Dec 27, 2013 12:56 AM

    1. Only drive on roads that you bought and lay the concrete yourself.
    2. Build with your own hands and pay for the materials to build the school where you will send your children.
    3. Obtain a teaching degree and personally train all the teachers your children will ever have.
    4. Build with your own hands and pay for the materials for the hospital where you plan to have your children.
    5. Obtain a medical degree and personally train the doctors at that hospital.
    6. Obtain a pilots license and train all the pilots for all the flights that children will ever fly on.

    If your parents did all this for you, and you in turn did all six of these thing ( I’m sure their are many more I’m not thinking of) for your children then you’re not a socialist.

    p.s. at the end make sure you dig your own grave , attach a $100 bill to shovel handle, then fall in.

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