NBA outfit, Phoenix Suns, are set to be acquired for the princely sum of $4 billion (£3.3 billion). The buyout, financed by billionaire mortgage magnate, Mat Ishbia, would be the third most expensive in sporting history. Chelsea broke the record for that in 2022 when American businessman, Todd Boehly, and his partners forked out £4.25 billion to purchase the Blues from Roman Abramovich.
That eclipsed the £3.86 billion that Walmart impresario, Rob Walton, paid for NFL outfit Denver Broncos, also in 2022. Ishbia will take the keys to the Arizona franchise from Robert Sarver, who decided to sell up after an NBA investigation found him guilty of ‘conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards.’
The mortgage entrepreneur has been desperate to get his name over the door of a major sporting franchise in America, with bids for the Broncos and fellow NFL team Washington Commanders falling short in 2022.
It’s the most ever paid for an NBA franchise, but believe it or not the £3.3 billion price tag is small change compared to other leading sports teams around the globe – the Suns now rank 14th on the list. So, who are the most valuable sports teams in the world?
Who Are the Most Valuable Sports Team in the World?
You might have a notion about the most valuable sports team on the planet, but you’d probably be wrong. The oil-based riches of Manchester City, PSG and Newcastle United don’t take them to number one, and neither do the stories histories and commercial power of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or even a Manchester United.
No, the most valuable sports team in the world is NFL outfit Dallas Cowboys. They have been slapped with a valuation of £5.7 billion by Forbes, and have topped that publication’s list of the most valuable sports teams for the past seven years running.
Their home state, Texas, has a population of around 29.5 million people, while football remains the most popular sport in the United States. Combine those two elements and their commercial prowess is self-explanatory – their annual operating income of £383 million is considerably more than any other American sports team.
Most impressively, they continue to be incredibly popular despite a fallow time out on the pitch – they’ve only reached the all-important play-offs in four of the last 12 seasons.
The Top Five Most Valuable Sports Teams on the Planet
The Cowboys lead the way then as the most valuable sports team on the planet, and they are joined at the top of the list by two powerhouses from New York.
|1||Dallas Cowboys||American Football||£5.7bn|
|2||New York Yankees||Baseball||£4.9bn|
|3||New York Knicks||Basketball||£4.1bn|
The New York Yankees are one of the most recognisable sports ‘brands’ around, with their NY logo displayed on baseball caps and other merchandise from Aberdeen to Timbuktu.
One of the reasons that MLB franchises are so valuable is that advertisers queue up to secure jersey and stadium sponsorships. Baseball is played at a pretty languid pace, and so sponsors enjoy much more screen time than they would if they gave their money to an NBA franchise instead.
Although their revenue took a hit during the pandemic, the Yankees still routinely generate interest to the tune of more than $600 million (£490 million) every year, aided by their mass commercial appeal. The sizable TV revenue that NBA teams get certainly helps the financial bottom line of the New York Knicks, who also benefit from playing their home games at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
While their revenue was also hit by the global health crisis, the Knicks also bring in around £123 million every single season. As for Spanish football giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, they have taken rather contrasting routes to their astronomical valuations.
Real were chuffed to bits with their valuation by Forbes – they even reported it on their website by describing themselves as the ‘world’s most valuable soccer team’, which was perhaps a dig at their old rivals Barcelona, the former incumbents of that status, as much as anything else.
As for Barca, they continue to make heaps of money despite the fact they were forced to sell players in the summer, such was their flirtation with breaching financial fair play rules. Indeed, they have only just gotten back into the black after three seasons of net losses, but Barcelona’s value is inherent in the club – it’s trademarked brands, it’s world-famous Nou Camp home and even its world-leading La Masia academy complex.