Forbes has released its annual tabulation of the NFL's most valuable franchises, and you can probably guess who's on top: that little ol' ballclub from Texas, once again.
With a value of $2.3 billion, the Dallas Cowboys rule the roost for the seventh straight year, followed by the New England Patriots ($1.8 billion), Washington Redskins ($1.7 billion), New York Giants ($1.55 billion), and Houston Texans ($1.45 billion).
Way down at the bottom? The Oakland Raiders, who are worth "only" $825 million. The rest of the bottom five, moving up the ladder, are also unsurprising: Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Rams. The Lions are the only team that managed to lose money in the NFL, as they have done for the last four years.
Across the board, NFL teams have a mean value of $1.17 billion, a sum that far outstrips any other professional sports league. The top 20 soccer teams in the world have a mean value of $968 million, with baseball ($744 million), the NBA ($509 million), and the NHL ($282 million) trailing.
The Forbes numbers are often debatable, but the trends are not: television rights are gold, and new stadiums do drive revenue. The Cowboys, Patriots, Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Rams all had double-digit gains in value, with the Patriots and Texans benefitting from new stadiums and the Rams and Falcons closing in on new ones.
Combine those revenue sources with manageable cost containment from the salary cap and boundless opportunity to broadcast games on mobile devices, and you've got a league that's still on an upward trend, revenue-wise. Impressive all the way around.