The Washington Redskins are North America’s first billion-dollar team according to Forbes Magazine, extending their reign as the most valuable sports team on the continent to a fifth straight year.
Owner Dan Snyder and the Redskins received an estimated value of $1.1billion from Forbes, which compiles annual lists of team values for all the major team sports as well as top-tier European soccer. Washington’s new valuation is 16 percent higher than a year ago and 20 percent more than the Dallas Cowboys, who ranked second in the NFL at $923million.
The billion-dollar valuation was expected last year, when Snyder sold about a fifth of the team’s equity to three investors for $200million. But the Forbes numbers are created using multiples of annual revenue, and it was the Redskins $245million haul for the 2003 season, buttressed by strong increases in sponsorship and luxury seat receipts, that finally did the trick.
To that end, the $1.1billion figure does include any revenue deriving from the more than 5,000 new seats installed this summer at FedEx Field, pushing the stadium’s capacity to an NFL-best 91,665. As a result, next year’s valuation likely will be around $1.3 or $1.4billion.
“The outlook for the team and the NFL is still very healthy,” Forbes editor Michael Ozanian said. “The TV revenues are still quite good, as is gate revenue.”
The Redskins also easily topped the league in operating income — defined as profit before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization — at $69.6million.
While the Redskins are unparalleled economically on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the team still has a rival in British soccer power Manchester United. Earlier this year, Forbes calculated Manchester United, which is publicly traded, as having $289million in annual revenue and an estimated value of $1.2billion. The latter sum is matched by its market capitalization based on recent stock trading.
The average NFL franchise value according to Forbes is $733million. The Baltimore Ravens ranked 10th at $776million. At the bottom of the list are the Arizona Cardinals at $552million, a sum greater than the value of every hockey, basketball and baseball team except the New York Yankees.