Jerry Jones’s $150 million purchase of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 has more than paid off.
Twenty-seven years after the purchase, the Dallas Cowboys are worth $4 billion, the most in professional sports worldwide, according to Forbes. In the latest edition of Forbes’ annual report of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, the Cowboys were leaps and bounds ahead of the second-most valuable sports team, Real Madrid. Real Madrid’s 2016 worth is $3.65 billion.
This is the first time a non-soccer club has been the most valuable team in the world since Forbes started keeping track in 2011.
During the 2014 season, the Cowboys raked in $270 million in operating profit, a sports-team record. That mark was $75 million more than any other organization. Some of the Cowboys’ revenue streams are different than most other NFL teams. AT&T Stadium is the fourth-largest NFL stadium (behind MetLife Stadium, FedEx Field and Lambeau Field) and brings in $125 million for premium seats and $120 for sponsorship revenue. Both those marks lead the league. Unlike other teams, the Cowboys are the only team in the league to opt-out of the NFL’s licensed merchandise agreement.
It’s not just Jones and the Cowboys cashing in. The rest of the NFL is too, as 27 of the league’s teams made the top 50 list. In comparison, eight soccer clubs, eight NBA teams and seven MLB teams made the list. The only NFL teams not making the top 50 list are the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Rams, formerly of St. Louis.
The 23 other teams making the list don’t compare to what the NFL teams in the list are worth.
That number doesn’t even include the worth of the five NFL teams that were left off Forbes’ list.
Here’s the full list:
- Dallas Cowboys ($4 billion)
- Real Madrid ($3.65 billion)
- FC Barcelona ($3.55 billion)
- New York Yankees ($3.4 billion)
- Manchester United ($3.32 billion)
- New England Patriots ($3.2 billion)
- New York Knicks ($3 billion)
- Washington Redskins ($2.85 billion)
- New York Giants ($2.8 billion)
- Los Angeles Lakers ($2.7 billion)
- San Francisco 49ers (2.7 billion)
- Bayern Munich ($2.68 billion)
- New York Jets ($2.6 billion)
- Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.5 billion)
- Houston Texans ($2.5 billion)
- Chicago Bears ($2.45 billion)
- Philadelphia Eagles ($2.4 billion)
- Boston Red Sox ($2.3 billion)
- Chicago Bulls ($2.3 billion)
- San Francisco Giants ($2.25 billion)
- Chicago Cubs ($2.2 billion)
- Boston Celtics ($2.1 billion)
- Arsenal ($2.02 billion)
- Los Angeles Clippers ($2 billion)
- Green Bay Packers ($1.95 billion)
- Denver Broncos ($1.94 billion)
- Baltimore Ravens ($1.93 billion)
- Manchester City ($1.92 billion)
- Golden State Warriors ($1.9 billion)
- Pittsburgh Steelers ($1.9 billion)
- Indianapolis Colts ($1.88 billion)
- Seattle Seahawks ($1.87 billion)
- Miami Dolphins ($1.85 billion)
- Brooklyn Nets ($1.7 billion)
- Atlanta Falcons ($1.67 billion)
- Chelsea ($1.67 billion)
- New York Mets ($1.65 billion)
- St. Louis Cardinals ($1.6 billion)
- Minnesota Vikings ($1.59 billion)
- Carolina Panthers ($1.56 billion)
- Liverpool ($1.55 billion)
- Arizona Cardinals ($1.54 billion)
- Kansas City Chiefs ($1.53 billion)
- San Diego Chargers ($1.525 billion)
- New Orleans Saints ($1.515 billion)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1.51 billion)
- Cleveland Browns ($1.5 billion)
- Houston Rockets ($1.5 billion)
- Tennessee Titans ($1.49 billion)
- Jacksonville Jaguars ($1.48 billion)