Vikings climbing Forbes’ chart, up to 20th

The Vikings are ranked the 20th-most valuable team in the NFL with a $1.15 billion estimated value from Forbes.

Every year Forbes magazine assesses the value of sports franchises, which in light of the recent sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, tends to throw some of the valuations into question – especially seeing as the magazine deemed the value of the Clippers at closer to $800 million than $2 billion.

On Wednesday, Forbes released its 2014 valuation of the 32 NFL teams and, as has been a trend in each of the 17 years the franchise values have been calculated, the average team value has gone up. The current average value is $1.43 billion, an increase of a whopping 23 percent over last year – the largest one-year growth spurt since 1999.

The Vikings, who have routinely been at or near the bottom of the franchise values, jumped to 20th, thanks in large part to the securing of a new stadium and the exodus from the revenue-challenged Metrodome.

In determining the value of franchises, the enterprise value (equity plus net debt) is calculated using multiples of revenues that reflect each franchise’s current stadium economics with adjustments made for pending new stadiums and renovations. That explains why the Vikings and 49ers made the biggest jump. But, for the current year, one of the prime factors that plays into a franchise value is the operating income that a stadium generates – the sale of sponsorships and luxury suites that exceed the cost of operating the facility.

Why are the Cowboys at No. 1? Because they had a 2013 operating income of $246 million. Why were the Vikings consistently so low? In 2013, their operating income was $5 million, the lowest total of any team in the NFL and 43 times less than the Cowboys.

Here is the complete list of the franchise valuations and the operating income for each team:

1. Dallas Cowboys $3.2 billion/$246 million
2. New England Patriots $2.6 billion/$147 million
3. Washington Redskins $2.4 billion/$143 million
4. New York Giants $2.1 billion/$87 million
5. Houston Texans $1.85 billion/$103 million
6. New York Jets $1.8 billion/$80 million
7. Philadelphia Eagles $1.75 billion/$73 million
8. Chicago Bears $1.7 billion/$57 million
9. San Francisco 49ers $1.6 billion/$25 million
10. Baltimore Ravens $1.5 billion/$57 million
11. Denver Broncos $1.45 billion/$31 million
12. Indianapolis Colts $1.4 billion/$61 million
13. Green Bay Packers $1.35 billion/$26 million
14. Pittsburgh Steelers $1.35 billion/$52 million
15. Seattle Seahawks $1.33 billion/$27 million
16. Miami Dolphins $1.3 billion/$8 million
17. Carolina Panthers $1.25 billion/$56 million
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers $1.225 billion/$46 million
19. Tennessee Titans $1.16 billion/$36 million
20. Minnesota Vikings $1.15 billion/$5 million
21. Atlanta Falcons $1.125 billion/$13 million
22. Cleveland Browns $1.12 billion/$35 million
23. New Orleans Saints $1.11 billion/$50 million
24. Kansas City Chiefs $1.1 billion/$10 million
25. Arizona Cardinals $1.0 billion/$43 million
26. San Diego Chargers $995 million/$40 million
27. Cincinnati Bengals $990 million/$12 million
28. Oakland Raiders $970 million/$43 million
29. Jacksonville Jaguars $965 million/$57 million
30. Detroit Lions $960 million/$16 million
31. Buffalo Bills $935 million/$38 million
32. St. Louis Rams $930 million/$16 million

As the Vikings wait to enter their new stadium in two years, the ripple effect of that future income is already impacting the value of the franchise. Once they move into their yet-to-be-named stadium, those revenue generators will likely push them higher up the list as the Vikings look to capitalize on opportunities that have made other owners rich while the Vikings have wallowed at the bottom of stadium revenue generation.

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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