Minnesota Vikings’ value jumps 38 percent on latest Forbes list

Once a year, Forbes magazine gets to pal around with the NFL when it releases its annual list of franchise valuations. The Minnesota Vikings improved a spot to No. 18 on the list, but, if Forbes is accurate, the price of getting into the NFL business is getting more difficult all the time.

Once every year, the good people at Forbes magazine make their way into the sporting headlines by placing values on pro sports franchises. The list is out for 2016 and the good news for the Minnesota Vikings is that, even before moving into their brand new state-of-the-art stadium, they’re moving up the value chart.

The Vikings rank 18th among NFL teams, moving up from 19 last year by passing the Carolina Panthers with a value of $1.59 billion. That figure could increase considerably when the Vikings start bringing in revenue from the new stadium, which is the driving force of franchise values.

As it has been every year since Forbes began compiling its top-50 list of franchise values in 2011, the Dallas Cowboys led the NFL with a value of $4 billion. What made the Cowboys hitting the $4 million mark noteworthy was that it was the first time the NFL grabbed the top spot.

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In the previous four years, the soccer team Real Madrid held the top spot, but fell to No. 2 with a value of $3.65 billion. Soccer club Barcelona checked in at No. 3 at $3.55 billion. Rounding out the top five were the New York Yankees ($3.4 billion) and soccer’s Manchester United ($3.32 billion).

Baseball seemed to be hit the hardest by the value of franchises. On Forbes’ 2015 list, 12 of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs made the top 50. This year, there were just seven. The NBA dropped from 10 teams in the top 50 down to eight.

In the last year, seven more NFL teams made the top 50 list, increasing the number from 20 to 27.

Here is the list of the 27 teams, their estimated value and the percent of increase they have experienced from the 2015 valuations to 2016.

1. Dallas Cowboys – $4 billion (increase of 25 percent)

2. (6 overall) New England Patriots – $3.2 billion (23 percent)

3. (8) Washington Redskins – $2.85 billion (19 percent)

4. (9) New York Giants – $2.8 billion (33 percent)

5. (10) San Francisco 49ers – $2.7 billion (69 percent)

6. (13) New York Jets – $2.6 billion (44 percent)

7. (14) Houston Texans – $2.5 billion (35 percent)

8. (16) Chicago Bears – $2.45 billion (44 percent)

9. (17) Philadelphia Eagles – $2.4 billion (37 percent)

10. (25) Green Bay Packers – $1.95 billion (42 percent)

11. (26) Denver Broncos – $1.94 billion (34 percent)

12. (27) Baltimore Ravens – $1.93 billion (29 percent)

13. (29) Pittsburgh Steelers – $1.9 billion (46 percent)

14. (31) Indianapolis Colts – $1.88 billion (34 percent)

15. (32) Seattle Seahawks – $1.87 billion (41 percent)

16. (33) Miami Dolphins -- $1.85 billion (42 percent)

17. (35) Atlanta Falcons – $1.67 billion (48 percent)

18. (39) Minnesota Vikings – $1.59 billion (38 percent)

19. (40) Carolina Panthers – $1.56 billion (25 percent)

20. (42) Arizona Cardinals – $1.54 billion (54 percent)

21. (43) Kansas City Chiefs – $1.53 billion (39 percent)

22. (44) San Diego Chargers – $1.525 billion (53 percent)

23. (45) New Orleans Saints – $1.515 billion (36 percent)

24. (46) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $1.51 billion (23 percent)

25. (47) Cleveland Browns – $1.5 billion (34 percent)

26. (49) Tennessee Titans – $1.49 billion (28 percent)

27. (50) Jacksonville Jaguars – $1.48 billion (53 percent)

There were five NFL teams that didn’t make it – Los Angeles, Detroit, Oakland, Buffalo and Cincinnati. The Rams clearly are going to go up in value dramatically when their new stadium opens in two years. Not that anyone would feel sorry for him considering how he left St. Louis, but Rams owner Stan Kroenke isn’t hurting for cash. He owns soccer team Arsenal, which was the biggest upward mover – jumping 13 spots to No. 23 with a value of $2.02 billion.

The Vikings value jumped a whopping 38 percent, but, to look at the list of NFL teams, that is nothing unusual. The 49ers, who moved into Levi’s Stadium in 2014, fully started reaping the harvest of a new stadium and jumped a whopping 69 percent to vault into the top 10 of all franchises and No. 5 in the NFL.

For those who remember when the Vikings were playing tag with Cincinnati for last place in value of NFL franchises, it’s impressive to see how far they’ve come simply on the investment in a new stadium. Once the return on that investment kicks in, a $2 billion number can’t be that far behind – perhaps as soon as next year when Forbes finds its way from the business page to the sports page.


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