What makes Cowboys the NFL’s most valuable team

AT&T Stadium has contributed to the Cowboy's impressive valuation(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
AT&T Stadium has contributed to the Cowboy’s impressive valuation (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Jerry Jones has received quite a healthy return on investment since purchasing the Dallas Cowboys for $150 million in 1989. The Cowboys now have a valuation of $3.2 billion, according to a Forbes analysis, good enough to tie with the New York Yankees for the second-most valuable sports franchise. International soccer powerhouse Real Madrid barely edges them out at $3.26 billion to top the list for a third consecutive year. The NFL remains the undisputed king of America’s sports landscape and landed 20 teams in the top 50, followed by 12 MLB teams, 10 for the NBA, one NHL team and a Formula One squad.

The valuation for the Cowboys was broken down into four key areas (all numbers rounded):

  • Sport: $1.132 billion. Twenty-five NFL teams possess valuations north of $1 billion, partially due to the boatload of cash from newly minted network deals. No sport draws TV ratings like the NFL, and coverage of the sport appears to grow nearly every day.
  • Market: $878 million. Focusing solely on the metropolitan area of Dallas, the ‘Boys are in a good spot. A median household income of $58,000 and a ranking of number 15 on Forbes’ Best Places For Business and Careers surely helps keep the turnstiles turning in Jerry World.
  • Stadium: $860 million. Speaking of Jerry World, the behemoth that the ‘Boys call home does a lot more than play host to home games. As a sought-after venue for other sporting events, concerts, conventions, etc., AT&T stadium promises to keep the revenue flowing in Big D.
  • Brand: $404 million. The Cowboys are one of the most aggressive teams with regard to building their own brand. America’s Team has an extensive amount of sponsorship deals in place and that number only continues to grow. They are one of the iconic brands in all of sports. Love them or hate them, the Cowboys inspire passion.

The numbers show no signs of slowing and promise to get more staggering. Construction is halfway complete on the club’s $350 million world headquarters. Branded as “The Star in Frisco,” the sprawling 91-acre development is being built in partnership with the City of Frisco and Frisco Independent School District. In addition to the headquarters, it will house a 12,000-seat indoor practice facility, two outdoor fields, an indoor events center, an Omni hotel, offices, retail stores and restaurants. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

The Cowboys should remain near the top of Forbes list for the foreseeable future. Looking at the next few NFL teams on the list shows a sizable lead for the Cowboys:

  • New England Patriots: $2.6 billion
  • Washington Redskins: $2.4 billion
  • New York Giants: $2.1 billion
  • Houston Texans: $1.85 billion
  • New York Jets: $1.8 billion
  • Philadelphia Eagles: $1.75 billion
  • Chicago Bears: $1.7 billion
  • San Francisco 49ers: $1.6 billion
  • Baltimore Ravens: $1.5 billion

Moving down to No. 9 on the NFL list, and the Cowboys start doubling team values. Setting aside Jerry Jones’ ability to serve as the team’s de facto general manager, there is no denying his ability to identify and create value.

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