How 'bout them Cowboys
It appears America’s Team also is the world’s team, at least from a monetary standpoint. A new ranking from Forbes magazine, released July 22, places the Dallas Cowboys at No. 1 among the most valuable sports teams on the planet.
The NFL team that Jerry Jones bought 30 years ago for a paltry $140 million holds the title, for the fourth consecutive year, of the world’s most valuable sports franchise. The current estimated value of the ’Boys: $5 billion. No other sports team has ever reached that milestone. The No. 2-ranked New York Yankees are worth a mere $4.6 billion.
“Jones has capitalized on the insatiable appetite for all things Cowboys,” Forbes declares.
While on-the-field success has fallen short of the team’s goals, its financial success has scored more than a few touchdowns.
Forbes notes that Jones & Co. has generated an estimated $340 million in sponsorship and premium-seat revenue at AT&T Stadium, which opened in 2009. That’s twice as much as any other team, the magazine says.
On top of that, nine of the 50 most-watched sports TV broadcasts in 2018 were regular-season games involving the Cowboys, according to Forbes.
Forbes reports the team’s value rose 4 percent from $4.8 billion in 2018. The franchise’s operating income totaled $365 million in 2017, or $1 million a day. The magazine says that’s a record amount of income for any professional sports team.
Back when Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, the team was worth a measly $60 million.
Donald Trump — now U.S. President, but then a New York real estate developer — once boasted that he could have bought the Cowboys for $50 million. But he passed on the deal.
“I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys,” Trump told The New York Times in 1984. “It’s a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well, so what, they’ve won through the years, and if he loses, which seems likely because they’re having troubles, he’ll be known to the world as a loser.”
The cash-cow Cowboys aren’t the only Dallas team on this year’s Forbes list.
The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, appear at No. 43 in the global ranking. Forbes pegs the team’s value at $2.25 billion, up 18 percent from 2018. Cuban’s team slam-dunked an operating income of $99 million in 2017.
Five places ahead of the Mavericks are the NBA’s Houston Rockets, tied at No. 38. Forbes estimates the value of the franchise at $2.3 billion, up 5 percent from 2018. Tilman Fertitta’s team netted an operating income of $103 million in 2017.
The NFL’s Houston Texans, meanwhile, are locked in a tie at No. 22. For 2019, the estimated value of the Texans is $2.8 billion — unchanged from 2018. The team, owned by Janice McNair, notched an operating income of $161 million in 2017, Forbes says.
No other Texas sports teams made this year’s Forbes list.
Rounding out the top five behind the Cowboys and Yankees are the Real Madrid soccer team (No. 3, $4.24 billion); Barcelona soccer team (No. 4, $4.02 billion); and NBA's New York Knicks (No. 5, $4 billion).
Forbes bases its valuations on each team's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, known in business circles as EBITDA. This is a key measurement of a team’s financial performance.