Forbes: Vikings second-to-last in value

Forbes' annual report on NFL team valuations reiterates what Vikings officials have been saying for years: They need a new stadium to become competitive in NFL revenues. In tough economic times, their value actually decreased, according to the financial magazine.

The business magazine Forbes has come out with its 2009 valuation of NFL franchises and, once again, it looks bad for the Vikings, who rank 31st out of 32 teams in current value.

Nineteen teams are now valued at over $1 billion, led by the Dallas Cowboys ($16.5 billion), the Washington Redskins ($1.55 billion), the New England Patriots ($1.36 billion), the New York Giants ($1.18 billion) and the New York Jets ($1.17 billion). The other teams in the billion-dollar club include Houston, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Carolina, Cleveland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Miami and Tennessee.

The Vikings' value of $835 million is more than only the hapless Oakland Raiders ($797 million). The Vikings value remains virtually unchanged from 2008, dropping $4 million from 2008's listing. The only reason they're not in last place this year is because the Raiders' value dropped by 7 percent – roughly $56 million – from last year.

Eight of the NFL's 32 franchises dropped in value, led by the Raiders with a 7 percent plunge and Indianapolis and Detroit, whose values each dropped approximately 5 percent from 2008. A sign of the hard economic times, it was the first time any franchises dropped in valuation from one year to the next – much less a quarter of the league.

The annual valuation for the Vikings put much of the blame on the Metrodome, one of the oldest and the most inexpensive stadium to build in the league. Forbes blamed the lack of revenue generated at the Dome, which is the lowest in the league. In a cryptic paragraph in the story, the magazine theorized, "The team has not gotten anywhere trying to get funding for a new building from the state legislature. If a deal cannot be struck, look for the Vikes to fill the NFL's gaping hole in Los Angeles when the team's lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season."

The Vikings' $209 million in revenue also ranked 31st in the league, ahead of only the Detroit Lions, who brought in $208 million despite not winning a game last year.

In a breakdown of the team's value, 74 percent of that ($619 million) was attributed simply for being in the NFL, where revenue is shared among all 32 teams. $107 million was attributed to the Twin Cities market size, with $56 million assigned to brand management and $53 million attributed to the Metrodome. By contrast, the Cowboys franchise was valued at $325 million for its Dallas market, $261 million for its stadium and $208 million for its brand management.

Clearly, there is a long way to go to get the Vikings from the bottom of the NFL value chart, but, if there is good news, its that the value of the franchise has climbed almost $235 million since Zygi Wilf bought the team.

Forbes and its gloomy prediction again point to the same problem Vikings ownership (and fans) have faced for years. Until the team gets out of the Metrodome, the Vikings will remain behind almost every other franchise for the ability to generate revenue. The only way to change it will be to put the team in a new building, whether that is in the Twin Cities or Los Angeles.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Rumors continue to circulate that the Vikings are calling teams to see if they have an interest in quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. The team is still trying to figure out how to handle its QB situation now that Brett Favre has signed. The general consensus is that the team will try to trade Jackson and, if that fails, may cut John David Booty in hopes he clears waivers and can be put on the practice squad. If any other team claims him, it would have to put him on the 53-man roster.

  • Brad Childress said Wednesday that Brett Favre and many of the other starters won't play Friday against the Cowboys.

  • Jim Kleinsasser returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a hand injury in the preseason opener against the Colts.

  • Former Vikings offensive lineman Marcus Johnson, who was cut by the Raiders on Monday, was signed by the Buccaneers Wednesday after clearing waivers.

  • While one former Viking offensive lineman gets a new lease on his NFL life, the 2009 season is over for another. Cory Withrow, who now plays for Seattle, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday – ending his 2009 season.


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