The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable NFL team for a 16th consecutive year, according to the annual list published by Forbes on Monday.
The Cowboys, who have only made the playoffs four times in the last 12 seasons, are worth $8bn, up 23% from last year, Forbes said. The New England Patriots ($6.4bn), Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams ($6.2bn), New York Giants ($6bn) and Chicago Bears ($5.8bn) completed the top five.
The Cowboys’ operating income of $465.9m was the highest in the NFL, dwarfing that of the Patriots ($230.5m), the next team on the list. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bought his team for $140m in 1989 (the equivalent of $330m in 2022). Forbes also rated the Cowboys as the most valuable team in the world in 2021. The Yankees and Knicks in New York were second and third on the list, with Barcelona and Real Madrid completing the top five.
“They’re still ‘America’s Team,’” Kurt Badenhausen, a reporter at the sports business website Sportico, told the Guardian earlier this year. “They’re still the most watched team. Every network wants as many Cowboys games as they can get. They have the largest fanbase in the country.”
Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the lowest income at $62.3m.
According to Forbes, the average value of the NFL’s 32 teams rose 28% from last year to $4.47bn due in part to the $4.65bn sale of the Denver Broncos to the Walton-Penner ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton. The NFL generated roughly $18bn in revenue last year and is on track to reach its goal of $25bn by 2027. In 2021, the league tied up a blockbuster $113bn media rights deal through to the 2033 season.
The Cincinnati Bengals ($3bn), who fell 23-20 to the Rams in last season’s Super Bowl, were the NFL’s lowest-valued team on the Forbes list.