Sports | August 1, 2022 1:37 pm

The Yankees Are Worth $7 Billion. That’s No Longer Enough for the Top Spot in Sports.

After a busy year of big-ticket sales, there's been a reshuffling in the franchise rankings

A view through the iconic frieze at Yankee Stadium.
The Dallas Cowboys join the New York Yankees as a $7 billion franchise.
Robert Sabo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty

According to the latest valuation rankings from Sportico, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s richest franchise, coming in at an estimated worth of $7.64 billion.

It’s a number that’s never been seen before, across any global sports league — despite owner Jerry Jones’s repeated pronouncements that he could sell “America’s Team” for $10 billion, if he really wanted to. It also represents a reshuffling at the top of North American sports.

Earlier this year, Sportico awarded the New York Yankees a valuation of $7.01 billion, which was higher than any other MLB, NBA or NFL franchise. The Cowboys’ latest mark is a full $630 million ahead.

That’s despite both franchises floundering in the 21st century. On the field, the Cowboys have been largely irrelevant, winning just three playoff games and failing to clinch the NFC East in consecutive years even just once. The Yankees have been better (they haven’t had a losing record since 1992), but by their championship-or-bust standards, they are mired in a drought. Their last visit to the World Series was in in 2009, which they won.

Regardless, the front offices have seen their clubs’ value appreciate with every passing year, a testament to global popularity, the success of regional sports networks over the last 15 years, prudent investing, off-field ventures that have paid off (the Yankees and Cowboys actually joint-operate the hospitality group Legends) and the sales of other big-ticket franchises across the sporting ecosystem.

This year alone, Chelsea Football Club sold for $3.1 billion following a long, complex saga in which former owner Roman Abramovich, a friend of the Kremlin, was forced to sell the team in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (You may have seen the number $5.2 billion around the internet. That’s in reference to the amount of cash new honcho Todd Boehly is expected to invest into the team.) Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos officially sold for $4.65 billion last month.

Both were rare sales. As Sportico notes, the Broncos deal was a “litmus test for the NFL’s updated ownership rules” (which require the general partner to hold equity of at least 30%), in addition to a showcase of the league’s robust health. Denver is the biggest market to sell a team in this century. The bidding war has naturally enriched every other team in the league. If an ownership group based in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia or Dallas-Fort Worth decided to put a team on the market, the return would be staggering.

Rounding out Sportico’s top ten NFL franchises: Los Angeles Rams ($5.91B), New England Patriots ($5.88B), New York Giants ($5.73B), San Francisco 49ers ($5.18B), Chicago Bears ($5B), New York Jets ($4.8B), Washington Commanders ($4.78B), Philadelphia Eagles ($4.7B) and Denver Broncos ($4.65B).

The Yankees likely don’t lose too much sleep over catching the Cowboys. George Steinbrenner bought the team for $10 million in 1973 (while Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys for $150 million in 1989), which will go down as one of the most prolific investments in American history. And who knows? This time next year, the Yankees could add another half-billion to their valuation. MLB expanded its playoffs, which will fill the coffers of all successful teams this fall (the Yankees are currently World Series favorites), and ballclubs are looking to ad jersey sponsors in the coming years. A Yankees deal would provide them with $20 million annually, at a minimum.

As for the Cowboys, quarterback Dak Prescott made waves last week when he predicted that the 2022 campaign will prove a “golden year” for the franchise, and deliver its rabid fanbase their first Super Bowl since 1995. The experts aren’t so optimistic, but from the perspective of Jones and Co., it doesn’t really matter. This time next year, they’ll get to see the number eight next to a dollar sign, anyway.