20 Most Valuable Sports Teams and How Much They are Worth

Beyond all the emotion, passion, and frenzy that sports inspire in us all, one must not lose sight of the fact that it is also a business and a lucrative one at that. This multi-trillion dollar industry immensely benefits from humongous TV deals, operating rights, and ticket sales among other things, with several teams building up an asset base that rivals that of several fortune 500 companies.

With such net worth, these teams are able to attract some of the best talents in the game and win championships. They also make enough profits for their owners at the end of the day. Another fact about some of the most valuable sports teams in the world is that they are able to survive and overcome tough challenges in the industry. For instance, even though the covid-19 pandemic shut down several leagues and led to losses running into billions of dollars, it didn’t come close to hurting the most valuable sports teams in the world. If anything, the value of these teams remained intact with several billionaires shopping around to be given a chance to purchase one.

The Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World and Their Values

20. Boston Celtics – $3.1 Billion

  • League – NBA
  • Owners – Boston Basketball Partners L.L.C.
  • Date Founded – 1946
  • Arena/Sports Ground – TD Garden
Most Valuable Sports Teams
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Bringing up the rear on the list of the 20 most valuable sports teams in the world is the Boston Celtics. One of the most successful in the NBA in terms of championships won, the Celtics came into existence in the mid-40s and have since changed ownership 14 times. The team is presently owned by a consortium known as the Boston Basketball Partners L.L.C. The consortium consists of several individuals namely Wycliffe Grousbeck, Stephen Pagliuca, H. Irving Grousbeck, and Robert Epstein. The owners shelled out about $360 million to purchase the franchise in the year 2002. It has been a most profitable decision as the team’s value jumped from around $274 million in 2003 to $3.1 billion in 2020. It now ranks amongst the top five valuable teams in the NBA.

19. New York Jets – $3.2 Billion

  • League – MLB
  • Owners – Woody Johnson and Christopher Johnson
  • Date Founded – 14th of August 1959
  • Arena/Sports Ground – MetLife Stadium
New York Mets
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Billionaire businessman and one-time diplomat, Woody Johnson, purchased the Jets for about $635 million in the year 2000. Two decades down the line, the franchise is worth a whopping $3.1 billion and Johnson is tenaciously hanging on to ownership. Some have suggested though that he should be forced to sell, much like former L. A. Clippers owner – Donald Sterling, thanks to some unsavory allegations that came to light in 2020.

It was alleged that Johnson, who had been appointed the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. in 2017, had made racist remarks disparaging black people in the course of his ambassadorial term. They were also allegations of sexism but he has vigorously denied this. The Mets have also come to his defense stating that he had worked with them to consistently and actively support and encourage the development of different social justice, diversity, women’s, and inclusion initiatives.

18. Chicago Cubs – $3.2 Billion

  • League – MLB
  • Owner – Ricketts Family
  • Date Founded – 1876
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Wrigley Field Stadium
Chicago Bulls
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The Cubs may have gone for a long period, about 108 years, before winning another World Series title but that has not hindered them from becoming one of the most valuable teams in the MLB. Their valuation first hit the billion-dollar mark in 2013 and a year later, they embarked on the sale of equity in the organization to raise the $150 million needed to renovate their historic Wrigley Field Stadium.

That move has since paid off as their asset base keeps on growing each year. In 2015, they were worth $1.8 billion and a year later, $2.2 billion. Such an upward trajectory continues till date and in 2020, peaked at $3.1 billion. For that year, they recorded $452 million in local revenue and an operating income of $87 million, making for about $365 in gross profits.

17. Chicago Bulls – $3.2 Billion

  • League – NBA
  • Owner – Jerry Reinsdorf
  • Date Founded –16th of January 1966
  • Arena/Sports Ground – United Center
Chicago Bulls
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Another Chicago-based franchise that ranks amongst the most valuable sports teams in the world is the NBA side, Chicago Bulls. A budding source of revenue for the Bulls is jersey sponsorships. For several years, the NBA avoided doing that unlike most other professional leagues in the world. However, at the 2016 All-Star game, league commissioner Adam Silver got things rolling by agreeing to a Kia sponsorship.

Since then, other teams have jumped into the fray, including The Bulls. In 2018, they signed an agreement with eyeglasses manufacturers Zenni Opticals to have their logo on the team’s jersey. The announcement emphasized the fact that both organizations shared mutual values of community and family while downplaying the issue of finance. Despite this, you can be sure that Zenni brought out big bucks in order to make the deal a reality.

16. Boston Red Sox – $3.3 Billion

  • League – MLB
  • Owners – John Henry and Thomas Werner
  • Date Founded – 1901
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Fenway Park
Boston Red Sox
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Ever since John Henry, through his Fenway Sports Group, purchased the Red Sox in 2002, they have tasted success both on the field and off it. In the MLB, the team has won an additional four World Series titles which is no small feat. On the business side of things, the team’s valuation has quadrupled from $488 million in 2003 to $3.3 billion in 2020. They are set to get even more profitable if their owner’s future plan is anything to go by.

In 2020, John Henry declared his intention to take the Fenway Group public. The move will see the group collaborate with an investment vehicle known as the RedBall Acquisition Corp. RedBall will purchase a 25% stake in Fenway which would see the group’s valuation shoot up to $8 billion. Of course, there is no gainsaying the fact that this would also have a good effect on the Red Sox.

15. Washington Football Team – $3.4 Billion

  • Owner – Daniel Snyder
  • League – NFL
  • Date Founded – 9th of July 1932
  • Arena/Sports Ground – FedEx Field
Washington Football team
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For the longest time, the Washington Football Team was known as the Washington Redskins. However, as people became more aware of cultural appropriation, they called for the name to be changed as it was racist. The franchise resisted this call for several years with their owner stating that their name would never be changed. They were however forced to have a rethink in mid-2020.

Following the protests that greeted the killing of an unarmed black man named George Floyd by cops, there was increased scrutiny on racial discrimination in the United States. It once more brought the issue of the Redskins’ name to the fore and many sponsors piled pressure on them. They, therefore, had no choice but to overhaul their brand name for the temporary Washington Football Team pending a decision on a permanent identity.

14. Los Angeles Dodgers – $3.4 Billion

  • League – MLB
  • Owner – Guggenheim Baseball Management
  • Date Founded – 1883
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Dodger Stadium
L.A. Dodgers
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The Dodgers may have ended up as one of the most valuable sports teams of the year but that does not mean that they totally escaped the economic side effects of the pandemic. According to their president and CEO, Stan Kasten, the franchise lost about $100 million in revenue thanks to the fact that the regular season was shortened from 180 games to just 60 games.

There was also the fact that the team couldn’t play with fans and as such, revenue from tickets was almost nil. This was especially hurtful for the franchise as they boasted of the highest attendance in the league for 2019 with almost 4 million tickets sold. Despite this downturn, Kasten remains optimistic that things will get back to normal soon.

13. Chicago Bears – $3.45 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owner – McCaskey Family
  • Date Founded – 17th of September 1920
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Soldier Field
Chicago Bears
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The Chicago area boasts of several popular sports franchises but the most valuable amongst them all is the NFL’s Chicago Bears. Even though the Bears have not tasted on-field success in recent times, they remain quite popular due to their rich history. It is that popularity that has ensured that they keep on making revenue from various sources such as their share of TV revenue as well as ticket takings.

The franchise has also made millions from sponsors such as Advocate Health Care, Verizon, Miller Coors, PNC, Proven IT, And Keurig Dr. Pepper, etc. Also in September 2020, the Bears reached another sponsorship agreement with the betting company, Pointsbet. The deal will see the company become the first legal sportsbook partner in the Bears’ history.

12. San Francisco 49ers – $3.5 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owners – Denise DeBartolo and John York
  • Date Founded – 4th of June 1944
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Levi’s Stadium
San Francisco 49ers
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A breakdown of the 49ers’ $3.5 billion valuation will show that the lion’s share hails from their portion of revenue shared amongst all the teams in the league. Other variables include their city and market size, which is quite significant, as well as their stadium and brand value. For the year under review, the franchise netted $530 million in revenue while its operating income was $120 million. Player expenses also gulped an additional $256 million.

The 49ers also made about $90 million from gate receipts and this was not unconnected to their on-field success. The team went all the way to the Super Bowl and their fans were there to support them every step of the way. The franchise has meanwhile revealed that they would be increasing ticket prices to $20 for 2021. To offset the pinch of the increase, fans will get an unlimited supply of soda, coffee, nachos, etc.

11. Los Angeles Rams – $3.8 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owner – E. Stanley Kroenke
  • Date Founded – 1936
  • Arena/Sports Ground – SoFi Stadium
L. A. Rams
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Building a new stadium is never an easy prospect and the Rams have discovered this in spades. The franchise entered into a $2 billion debt to be able to finish their indoor-outdoor home, SoFi stadium, in 2020. The stadium is the largest in the NFL and can house about 100,000 people. It is spread out over 300 acres of land (about three Disneylands) and has the biggest video screen in the league. Other amazing features include 13,000 premium seats, 260 luxury suites, strong Wi-Fi as well as a translucent roof that can be opened.

Due to covid-19 restrictions, the state-of-the-art stadia opened without fans in September. The Rams remain hopeful though as the stadium is set to host fans once the lockdown is over. It will also host other big events such as Super Bowl 2022, music concerts as well as the opening ceremony of the 2028 Olympic Games.

10. Manchester United – $3.81 Billion

  • League – EPL
  • Owner – Glazer Family
  • Date Founded – 1878
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Old Trafford
Manchester United
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The tenth most valuable sports team in the world is the English premiership side, Manchester United. Even though the club has been underperforming in recent years, the fact that they have a rich and successful history means that their brand is strong and can resist just about any pressure. They, therefore, have no difficulty getting new commercial opportunities all over the globe.

For instance, in 2020, they signed a shirt sleeve sponsorship deal with American manufacturing company Kohler which would see them receive $13 million per annum. Bear in mind that this deal is only restricted to the team’s sleeve as their major jersey sponsor remains Chevrolet. The seven-year deal with the American carmaker is said to be worth in excess of £50 million.

9. New York Giants – $3.9 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owners – John Mara and Steve Tisch
  • Date Founded – 1st of August 1925
  • Arena/Sports Ground – MetLife
New York Giants
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The Giants have witnessed mixed fortunes since they came into existence in 1925. Back in the early years of their founding, they were successful on the field, winning about three NFL championships. Their financial situation was however in dire straits as the game of football was overshadowed by baseball, boxing, and college football in their city. Luckily for the Giants, the NFL became popular as the years went by and their financial situation tremendously improved.

Today, the team is now one of the most valuable in the world and has sponsorship deals with the likes of Gatorade, Verizon Wireless, Busch, and Toyota. They also have a relatively new stadium with the team’s average ticket price going for $72. Such developments should normally be good news for fans of the franchise but they couldn’t care less as what they want is on-field success, which is not forthcoming.

8. Barcelona F.C. – $4.02 Billion

  • League – La Liga
  • Owners – Club Members
  • Date Founded – 29th of November 1899
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Camp Nou
Barcelona F.C.
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Barcelona may be one of the most valuable and respected sports teams in the world but that has been overshadowed by the fact that they are embroiled in a debt crisis. The Spanish club has a debt estimated at €1.2 billion and there are fears that they may end up declaring bankruptcy. Part of the problem that the club has is a shortage of income as a result of the pandemic.

Even though Barcelona still made some money from their share of TV rights, they lost their most valuable source of income which is tourism i.e. visitors to their stadium, club shop, and museum. The club’s troubles are further worsened by the fact that they lack substantive leadership. Many still have hope though that they would survive these turbulent times.

7. New England Patriots – $4.1 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owner – Robert Kraft
  • Date Founded – 16th of November 1959
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Gillette Stadium
New England Patriots
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Back in 1975, the New England Patriots were struggling and facing the prospect of a move to another city. Business magnate Robert Kraft then took a serious gamble on them by doling out a then-record $175 million to buy the team and keep it in Boston. It was a risky move but it has since paid off big time for Kraft. By the year 2000, the franchise had achieved a decent value of $464 million.

Things then turned around dramatically after they signed quarterback Tom Brady. The lowly-ranked Brady would go on to turn into one of the best QBs in the history of the league, leading the team to five Super Bowls. This tremendously improved the franchise and they are now one of the most popular sports brands in the world. Even though Brady recently bade farewell to them, they still retain their formidable status.

6. Real Madrid – $4.24 Billion

  • League – La Liga
  • Owners – Club Members
  • Date Founded – 6th of March 1902
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid
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The sixth most valuable sports team in the world and the most valuable soccer club is Real Madrid. With their fortune, the team has been able to assemble a squad of superstar players, traditionally known as the Galacticos, over the years. The first Galacticos era spanned the late 90s and 2000s when the club splashed out often-world record signing fees to land superstar players such as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham, Robinho, and Sergio Ramos.

The second Galacticos era began in the summer of 2009 and witnessed the arrivals of players such as Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Luka Modric, Isco, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Luka Jovic, and Eden Hazard. These players have cost Real Madrid nearly €1 billion but it has been a worthwhile investment as they have recorded exploits on the pitch that has helped the club maintain their global appeal.

5. Golden State Warriors – $4.3 Billion

  • League – NBA
  • Owners – Joe Lacob and Peter Guber
  • Date Founded – 1946
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Chase Center
Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors is another franchise that owes its meteoric rise in value to a superstar signing. Back in 2009, the team was languishing on the courts, making it to the playoffs once in the preceding 15 years, and this affected attendance levels. Also affected was their value, $315 million, which put them at the 18th position in the league. A turnaround would, however, come after they recruited shooting guard Steph Curry in 2009.

Thanks to Curry’s superlative shooting skills, as well as the addition of superb players such as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors have not missed a playoff from 2012 to date. They have also made it to the finals five times, winning on three occasions. Such has made them one of the most attractive teams in the league and they also boast of one of the highest attendance levels as well. All these have translated into multiple financial rewards.

4. Los Angeles Lakers – $4.4 Billion

  • League – NBA
  • Owners – Jerry Buss Family Trusts and Phillip Anschutz
  • Date Founded – 1947
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Staples Center
L.A. Lakers
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The Lakers’ $4.4 billion valuation makes them the 4th most valuable sports team in the world. It, therefore, raised a few eyebrows after they applied for and received a $4.6 million loan under a government paycheck protection program that was designed to help small businesses pay their employees during the lockdown.

The Lakers qualified for the stimulus package because they had about 300 employees with no plans to sack or furlough them. Their request was approved in the first round and the money given to them. They then returned it after discovering that the program ran out of money in less than two weeks. In a later statement, they clarified that they had returned the money so that those businesses most in need would receive assistance.

3. New York Knicks – $4.6 Billion

  • League – NBA
  • Owners – Madison Square Garden
  • Date Founded – 1946
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Madison Square Garden
New York Knicks
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The New York Knicks may be one of the worst teams in the NBA, posting the lowest winning percentage in the league since 2000, but that has not stopped them from emerging as the most valuable team in the league. The reason behind this miracle, so to say, is several. First is their geographic location of New York. New York is one of the most bustling cities in the world and has a large market size. The Knicks are therefore able to make about $100 million per annum from local TV rights alone.

Beyond the local TV rights, the Knicks pocket another $88.9 million each year from the NBA’s national TV contract. They also make a substantial income from their home which is the Madison Square Garden. The world-famous arena is regularly used for musical and comedy performances, boxing matches, and what have you. Of course, the Knicks do not let out the arena for free but generate tens of millions of dollars from renting it out.

2. New York Yankees – $5 Billion

  • League – MLB
  • Owners – Steinbrenner Family
  • Date Founded – 9th of January 1903
  • Arena/Sports Ground – Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees
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Still need more proof of the fact that the New York market is great for the sporting business, then look no further than the MLB side, the New York Yankees. The most valuable team in pro baseball, the Yankees were originally bought by the Steinbrenner family for a paltry $8.8 million in 1973. Nearly five decades later, their franchise’s value has ballooned to $5 billion and is still going strong.

Given such numbers, the Steinbrenner family is not looking to sell their franchise anytime soon but has firmly kept it in the family. When the patriarch, and original buyer of the Yankees, died in 2010, the shares of the franchise were split between his four surviving children namely Hank, Hal, Jessica, and Jennifer. Hank passed away in April 2020 and this has raised questions of succession. It however remains most likely that his share will remain in the family and go to his wife and children.

1. Dallas Cowboys – $5.5 Billion

  • League – NFL
  • Owner – Jerry Jones
  • Date Founded – 28th of January 1960
  • Arena/Sports Ground – AT&T stadium
Dallas Cowboys
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For the 5th straight year, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports team in the world. The NFL side predictably makes their money from their share of the league’s TV deal, gate takings as well as merchandise income. They also make a lot of money from sponsorship deals with the likes of Bank of America, AT&T, PepsiCo, Whataburger, Winstar World Casino and Resort, Ford, Keurig, NRG, and American Airlines. In 2020, the Cowboys renewed their sponsorship agreement with Miller Beer which would see them receive about $180 million over the course of the next 10 years. It is deals like this that ensure the team generates the highest revenue in the NFL and is the most valuable in the world.

Recap of the 20 Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World and How Much They are Worth

1. Dallas Cowboys – $5.5 billion

2. New York Yankees – $5 billion

3. New York Knicks – $4.6 billion

4. Los Angeles Lakers – $4.4 billion

5. Golden State Warriors – $4.3 billion

6. Real Madrid – $4.24 billion

7. New England Patriots – $4.1 billion

8. Barcelona- $4.02 billion

9. New York Giants – $3.9 billion

10. Manchester United – $3.81 billion

11. Los Angeles Rams – $3.8 billion

12. San Francisco 49ers – $3.5 billion

13. Chicago Bears – $3.45 billion

14. Los Angeles Dodgers – $3.4 billion

15. Washington Football Team – $3.4 billion

16. Boston Red Sox – $3.3 billion

17. Chicago Bulls – $3.2 billion

18. Chicago Cubs – $3.2 billion

19. New York Jets – $3.2 billion

20. Boston Celtics – $3.1 billion

Ngozika Agu
Ngozika Agu
Ngozika can turn any personal finance or entertainment information into an exciting, delightful and compelling article that informs and educates, she can quickly turn random letters into epic stories that not only entertain but also inspires or motivates


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