What do LeBron James and Steph Curry have in common — besides being two of the most watched NBA superstars? They’re both part of two of the most profitable teams on the planet.
The Lakers, worth $3.7 billion and Golden State, worth $3.5 billion come just below the New York Knicks’ $4 billion value, which ranks fifth among all sports teams, Forbes reports. In 2012, the Lakers were the most valuable NBA team, with $900 million, yet ranked 35th out of all sports franchises. The Knicks were the only other NBA team that made the Forbes list back then.
What a difference seven years makes.
Still, in spite of the huge financial gains and moves NBA teams have made over the past decade, the league still pales in comparison to the NFL, which out of Forbes’ top 50 most dominant sports franchises, accounts for half of the spots.
So which team is the riches sports franchise in the world? Unsurprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys.
First off, according to Forbes, “Dem Boys” are a ratings magnet. Nine of the 50 highest-rated sports TV broadcasts in 2018 were regular-season Cowboys games. Owner Jerry Jones brought in an estimated $340 million in sponsorship and premium seating revenue – at least twice as much as other teams.
Secondly, “America’s Team” was ranked the world’s most valuable sports franchise, for the fourth-straight year, at $5 billion.
Jones bought the Cowboys for a mere $150 million 30 years ago then changed stadium sponsorships, veering away from the NFL’s shared merchandise revenue system; started Legends Hospitality, a stadium-management firm with the New York Yankees, and opened a $1.5 billion practice facility in 2017, according to Forbes.
All of this resulted in Dallas top earnings of $365 million in 2017 – which set a sports franchise record. Also making the list at number 2 are the New York Yankees, valued at $4.6 billion. Real Madrid ranked third on the list at $4.2 billion.
Forbes set this year’s cutoff to rank among its 50 most valuable sports teams at $2.075 billion.