European sports fans often view American sports with contempt, with some citing it as the enemy to their noble pastime. Attempts to change, modernise or alter sport in Europe are often categorised as ‘Americanisations’.
Having said that our European counterparts have a lot to learn from the way our sports franchises operate, as Forbes latest sporting valuations confirm. The English Premier League is often described as the most ‘moneyed’ sports league in the world.
Yet it still lags well behind the NFL in terms of value much to the chagrin of soccer (sorry, football) fans across the pond. Here’s how the top 3 NFL and EPL teams measure up in terms of wealth.
Dallas Cowboys $4,800 billion
Manchester United $4,123 billion
The Dallas Cowboys became the first non-European sports team to top the Forbes rich list in 2017 and have retained number one ranking ever since. The Cowboys $1.2 billion stadium is the team’s biggest asset, bringing in annual revenues of $250 million from ticketing and sponsorship.
Manchester United conversely should be ashamed to be beaten by the Cowboys. The Red Devils are the best supported sports team on the planet with supporters clubs in 157 countries across the globe.
TV rights of over $300 million a year have put the club in a healthy financial position but poor performances on the pitch of late combined with terrible transfer business has contributed to their fall from the top. Although they are still the most valuable club in world soccer (football).
New England Patriots $3,700 billion
Manchester City $2,474 billion
Robert Kraft paid $172 million for the New England Patriots in 1994 which at the time, seemed like an odd move. The franchise had never won the Super Bowl and in truth, never looked likely of doing so.
Since then the franchise have won the Super Bowl six times, largely thanks to superstar quarterback Tom Brady. Robert Kraft has not only been pivotal in raising the value of the Patriots but he is also credited with doing the same for NFL in general.
Manchester City are a relatively new addition to the ‘Rich List’ after being bought by Sheikh Mansour for $200 million in 2008. Since then the club have spent a rumoured $2 billion on transfers, contracts and infrastructure improvements.
In reality Manchester City are by far the richest sports team in the world. Their owner has a personal wealth of $21.5 billion and a family fortune of $1 trillion. Although his wealth has to be reported separately from Manchester City’s to avoid penalties from financial fair play organisations.
New York Giants $3,300 billion
Arsenal $2,238 billion
Despite having a tough time on the field in recent years the Giants have cemented their place in the ‘Rich List’ thanks to impressive sponsorship and ticketing revenues.
John Mara and Steven Tisch’s franchise rake in just under $500 million a year in combined revenues. The Giants tight control of expenditure has seen them rise above free-spending European soccer teams.
Premier League club Arsenal bring in higher revenues ($520 million) with a substantial amount coming from the team’s well-run commercial department. However their wealth has been considerably worsened by American owner Stan Kroenke.
The Los Angeles Rams owner is hated by Arsenal fans for his perceived asset-stripping of the club. In 2014 season ticket revenue of $5 million was used by Kroenke to fund the purchase of a luxury Texan ranch. The controversial owner also hit the headlines last month when he failed to appear at the club’s Europa League Final against Chelsea.