Owning a professional sports team can be lucrative, gratifying, and expensive — which is why only the richest of the rich have enough coin to buy one. And for all the rewards of seeing your team win championships, owners also must endure down seasons and disgruntled fans. Being an owner means riding that roller coaster every year — every game, for that matter. (Sometimes the roller coaster seems to go in only one direction: These are the worst teams in the history of every sport.)
Yet professional sports teams tend to grow in value year over year. 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 most valuable teams in the world. Go down the list and you’ll see how much profit the owners or ownership groups have realized over the decades. Bought in 2011 for $770 million, for instance, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now worth $1.7 billion. Not a bad return on investment — and the Jaguars aren’t even one of the 20 teams with the most hall-of-famers.
To determine the world’s most valuable sports teams, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for 2021 from Forbes, based on the equity, debts, purchase or investment offers, stadium value, revenue, and operating income rankings for the top 50 sports franchises. The change in valuation since last purchase was calculated based on the difference between the current valuation of the team and the most recent owner or ownership group’s purchase price, regardless of the equity stake. The most recent championship for European soccer clubs was determined based on the highest level of European competition and did not factor in domestic championships.
In the football-, baseball-, and basketball-obsessed U.S., we tend to think those are the only sports that matter. And this list includes the usual U.S.-based pro teams, like the Knicks, the Cowboys, the Dodgers, and the Yankees. Worldwide, though, soccer is king, as reflected by the presence here of such organizations as Manchester United F.C. of the English League and F.C. Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga.