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NFL Team Valuations & the Corporate Stadium

2008 September 24
by Skip Sauer

Forbes has their annual valuation of NFL franchises up.***

Some of the interesting bits:

–The average NFL team is valued at $1 billion, up 8% from last year and 66% from five years ago. Dallas is worth the most, at $1.6 billion. Minnesota props up the valuation table at $839 million.

–Each of the top ten teams is playing in a modern stadium, or will be by 2010. Minnesota, Oakland, Atlanta, and Buffalo are not, and are listed as likely “to be sold or moved to a new city.”

–The NY Giants and Jets are each “expected to net an additional $125 million” in annual revenue from their new (shared) stadium.

–TV revenues “no longer cover player expenses. Team owners now dig into cash from luxury suites and stadium advertising to pay players.” (Poor Jerry Jones!)

The story oddly fails to consider the implications of a strategic focus of the NFL and pro sports in general on corporate money. On this issue, Bob Ryan has an interesting “Don Quixote rant“, written in the context of the new Yankee Stadium: “You do not matter. The Yankees are only interested in the kind of people who will populate the luxury suites and who will pay somewhere between $500 and $2,500 per person, per game, to sit in the first five to eight rows of the new ballpark.”

Ryan’s rant and associated quotes from the Yankee marketing effort are quite eye-opening, but the big issue is how the focus on corporate money will work out given the meltdown in the financial sector. This Forbes story – How Wall Street’s Woes May Whack Sports – states that one quarter of the $10 billion in annual corporate sponsorship in sports comes from the financial services industry. That’s not chump change. My hunch is that the market price of luxury suites will be moving up and down with the value of CDOs for at least the near future.

***(Here is the Forbes story, with lots of links to stats, but sundry annoyances too. Here is a cleaner presentation of the story at Yahoo Sports.)

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