Dallas Cowboys Are The First Franchise Worth $8 Billion

With skyrocketing revenue and mouth-watering profitability, NFL teams are now worth $4.47 billion on average, 28% more than just a year ago.

The sale of the Denver Broncos this month for $4.65 billion was a game-changer for the NFL, not only because of the record dollar amount, but for a key financial metric of the transaction, the enterprise-value-to-revenue multiple. At 8.8, it represented a significant increase compared with the prior two sales of NFL teams.

The Broncos were bought by 77-year-old Walmart heir Rob Walton, who has a personal fortune Forbes values at $58.7 billion, along with his daughter Carrie and her husband, Greg Penner.

The deal was a 24% premium to the value Forbes pegged the team at a year ago and sends average team valuations in the league up 28% this year to $4.47 billion, making clear that the days of bargain-basement multiples have ended for the NFL. Investors have come to realize that the league’s revenue growth (31% over the past five years), salary cap (48% of revenue) and mouth-watering profitability (average operating income of $146 million in 2021) command more respect.

In 2018, David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers for $2.28 billion, just 5.8 times revenue. Four years later Terry Pegula plunked down $1.4 billion, only 5.6 times revenue, for the Buffalo Bills. During the past several years among the four major North American sports leagues, only NBA teams have been changing hands at multiples above seven. Recall that Joe Tsai paid $3.2 billion, or 10.5 times revenue, for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018; Tilman Fertitta acquired the Houston Rockets for $2 billion, 7.4 times revenue, in 2017; and Steve Ballmer nabbed the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, an enterprise multiple of 13.7, in 2014.

Although the NFL’s 32 teams equally share a little over 70% of football-related revenue, the rising tide of multiples does not mean all boats are lifted equally. Teams that can leverage their brands and stadiums to increase luxury suite, sponsorship, hospitality and non-NFL-event revenue the most will typically be worth more.

Prime example: The Dallas Cowboys, worth $8 billion, sit on top of the league for the 14th consecutive year and are the most valuable team in all of sports. The Cowboys also are the first team to generate over $1 billion in revenue, thanks in large part to a bevy of lucrative sponsorships, such as a ten-year, $200 million deal with Molson Coors. In 2021, the Cowboys pulled in over $220 million in stadium advertising and sponsorship revenue, more than double that of any other team.

Four teams—the Chicago Bears, the Buffalo Bills, the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cleveland Browns—increased in value by over 40%.

The Bears are the lone NFL team in the country’s third-largest market, a big attraction for a wealthy buyer looking to break into the league. In addition, the Bears are moving toward getting either a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights or a renovation of Soldier Field. Both scenarios would add a lot of money to the team’s coffers.

The Bills are in the NFL’s second-smallest market but are getting a new $1.4 billion stadium financed with public money.

NFL Team’s Revenue Breakdown

The Raiders are a hot ticket in Sin City. In 2021, they played their first game at Allegiant Stadium in front of fans and generated the most gross ticket revenue ($78 million) in the league. Demand to see the silver and black remains strong. The team has the highest ticket demand on the secondary market for this season.

The Browns have among the highest sell-through rates in the NFL for both tickets and premium seating (suites and club seats) and have increased non-premium ticket prices nearly 60% over the last four years, to an average of $130. The team has also consistently ranked in the top five in the NFL in season-ticket renewal rates, with suite and sponsorship revenue both increasing more than 25% over the same period.

Methodology: Figures for revenue and operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) are for the 2021 season and net of stadium debt service. Debt includes both team and stadium debt recourse to team owners. We employ the cash basis, rather than the accrual basis, of accounting. Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt) and include the economics (including non-NFL revenue that accrues to the team’s owner) of the team’s stadium but not the value of the stadium real estate itself. Sources include team executives, sports bankers and league consultants, public documents such as stadium lease agreements and credit rating reports, and sponsorship and broadcasting industry executives.

Click here for the complete table of team valuations featuring more data.

2022 NFL Valuations


#1. $8 billion

Dallas Cowboys

1-Yr Change: 23% | Operating Income: $465.9 million | Owner: Jerry Jones

#2. $6.4 billion

New England Patriots

1-Yr Change: 28% | Operating Income: $230.5 million | Owner: Robert Kraft

#3. $6.2 billion

Los Angeles Rams

1-Yr Change: 29% | Operating Income: $203.1 million | Owner: E. Stanley Kroenke

#4. $6 billion

New York Giants

1-Yr Change: 24% | Operating Income: $177.9 million | Owners: John Mara, Steven Tisch

#5. $5.8 billion

Chicago Bears

1-Yr Change: 42% | Operating Income: $155.7 million | Owner: McCaskey family

#6. $5.6 billion

Washington Commanders

1-Yr Change: 33% | Operating Income: $130.3 million | Owner: Daniel Snyder

#7. $5.4 billion

New York Jets

1-Yr Change: 33% | Operating Income: $135.8 million | Owner: Johnson family

#8. $5.2 billion

San Francisco 49ers

1-Yr Change: 25% | Operating Income: $142.5 million | Owners: Denise DeBartolo York, John York


#9. $5.1 billion

Las Vegas Raiders

1-Yr Change: 49% | Operating Income: $116.5 million | Owner: Mark Davis

#10. $4.9 billion

Philadelphia Eagles

1-Yr Change: 29% | Operating Income: $144.8 million | Owner: Jeffrey Lurie

#11. $4.7 billion

Houston Texans

1-Yr Change: 27% | Operating Income: $211.5 million | Owner: Janice McNair

#12. $4.65 billion

Denver Broncos

1-Yr Change: 24% | Operating Income: $143.1 million | Owner: Rob Walton

#13. $4.6 billion

Miami Dolphins

1-Yr Change: 35% | Operating Income: $160.2 million | Owner: Stephen Ross

#14. $4.5 billion

Seattle Seahawks

1-Yr Change: 29% | Operating Income: $122.7 million | Owner: Paul G. Allen Trust

#15. $4.25 billion

Green Bay Packers

1-Yr Change: 22% | Operating Income: $138.4 million | Owner: shareholders

#16. $4 billion

Atlanta Falcons

1-Yr Change: 25% | Operating Income: $171.8 million | Owner: Arthur Blank


#17. $3.975 billion

Pittsburgh Steelers

1-Yr Change: 16% | Operating Income: $135.1 million | Owners: Arthur Rooney II, Daniel Rooney Trust

#18. $3.925 billion

Minnesota Vikings

1-Yr Change: 17% | Operating Income: $140.9 million | Owner: Zygmunt Wilf

#19. $3.9 billion

Baltimore Ravens

1-Yr Change: 15% | Operating Income: $127.4 million | Owner: Stephen Bisciotti

#20. $3.875 billion

Los Angeles Chargers

1-Yr Change: 33% | Operating Income: $155.7 million | Owner: Dean Spanos

#21. $3.85 billion

Cleveland Browns

1-Yr Change: 48% | Operating Income: $90.2 million | Owner: Dee and Jimmy Haslam

#22. $3.8 billion

Indianapolis Colts

1-Yr Change: 17% | Operating Income: $99.6 million | Owner: James Irsay

#23. $3.7 billion

Kansas City Chiefs

1-Yr Change: 26% | Operating Income: $118.8 million | Owner: Hunt family

#24. $3.675 billion

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1-Yr Change: 25% | Operating Income: $62.3 million | Owner: Glazer family


#25. $3.6 billion

Carolina Panthers

1-Yr Change: 24% | Operating Income: $138.8 million | Owner: David Tepper

#26. $3.575 billion

New Orleans Saints

1-Yr Change: 27% | Operating Income: $125.2 million | Owner: Gayle Benson

#27. $3.5 billion

Tennessee Titans

1-Yr Change: 33% | Operating Income: $114.6 million | Owner: Amy Adams Strunk

#28. $3.475 billion

Jacksonville Jaguars

1-Yr Change: 24% | Operating Income: $113.7 million | Owner: Shahid Khan

#29. $3.4 billion

Buffalo Bills

1-Yr Change: 50% | Operating Income: $83.4 million | Owner: Terry and Kim Pegula

#30. $3.27 billion

Arizona Cardinals

1-Yr Change: 23% | Operating Income: $112 million | Owner: Michael Bidwill

#31. $3.05 billion

Detroit Lions

1-Yr Change: 27% | Operating Income: $88.6 million | Owner: William Clay Ford family

#32. $3 billion

Cincinnati Bengals

1-Yr Change: 32% | Operating Income: $113.8 million | Owner: Michael Brown


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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2022/08/22/nfl-team-values-2022-dallas-cowboys-are-the-first-franchise-worth-8-billion/