Jeff Passan:

Shutdown Corner

Forbes’ list of top 20 most valuable sports franchises in the world includes 12 NFL teams

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(USA Today Sports Images)


There are countless ways to point out the popularity gap between the NFL and every other American sport.

Here's another: On Forbes' list of most valuable sports franchises around the world, 12 of the top 20 spots are held by NFL teams. And of the eight non-NFL franchises, five are international soccer clubs. Major League Baseball had three teams on the list (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers), and no other non-NFL team made the list.

So NFL teams from Baltimore, Green Bay and Indianapolis are more valuable than any other franchise in American sports, other than those three baseball teams.

Not that anyone was really arguing the NFL's dominance in the sporting scene anymore, but wow.

The Dallas Cowboys were the top NFL team on the list, valued at $2.1 billion. That's no surprise given their widespread popularity and the most opulent stadium in sports. The Yankees were tops among American sports teams, at No. 4. The top three spots were held by soccer clubs Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona.

Here are the NFL teams that were in the top 20, and where they landed in Forbes' countdown:

5. Dallas Cowboys $2.1 billion
6. New England Patriots, $1.635 billion
8. Washington Redskins, $1.6 billion
9. New York Giants, $1.468 billion
13. Houston Texans, $1.305 billion
14. New York Jets, $1.284 billion
15. Philadelphia Eagles, $1.26 billion
16. Chicago Bears, $1.19 billion
17. San Francisco 49ers, $1.175 billion
18. Green Bay Packers, $1.161 billion
19. Baltimore Ravens, $1.157 billion
20. Indianapolis Colts, $1.154 billion

A few quick thoughts:

• Say whatever you want about Jerry Jones and his football acumen, but include this: He is an incredible businessman.

• Was anyone else surprised that the Texans were that high? Huge fan base, great facilities, but still seemed surprising they were ranked fifth among NFL teams (and 13th in the world).

• The 49ers' value will rise tremendously with a new stadium. Every other team on this list has either a fairly new and wonderful stadium or one that has had extensive renovations. Levi's Stadium is set to open before the 2014 season.

• The Packers continue to be one of the most miraculous success stories in American business. If you've ever been to Green Bay, you fully understand that last sentence. It's a small town in a mostly rural area that happens to have a billion-dollar sports franchise settled in the middle of an otherwise regular Midwest neighborhood. (And if you're a serious NFL fan and haven't been to Lambeau Field, it should be on your bucket list.)

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