Hopefully NFL owners aren’t reading Forbes this week, otherwise everyone might start trying to move to their franchise.
The publication released its annual list of the NFL’s most valuable franchises on Wednesday and the three teams that increased the most in value this year just happened to be the same three teams that have been dealing with relocation issues over the past 12 months — the Rams, Raiders and Chargers.
The Rams’ value made the biggest jump in 2016, with the team now worth an estimated $2.9 billion. So yes, that sound you hear coming out of Southern California is probably just Stan Kroenke printing money.
Before moving to Los Angeles, the Rams were worth just $1.45 billion last year. Not only did the move to LA double the Rams’ value, but it also allowed them to move up from the 28th-most valuable franchise in 2015 to the sixth-most valuable this year. It’s a good thing on-field play doesn’t affect value or the team would probably be worth zero.
Although the Raiders and Chargers haven’t doubled their value over the past year, they are worth a lot more. The Raiders went from a value of $1.43 billion in 2015 to a value of $2.1 billion in 2016. That 47 percent increase is largely due to the fact that the Raiders will likely be getting a new stadium soon, although no one seems to know where that stadium will actually be located (Las Vegas, Oakland, A MYSTERY CITY THAT WE DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT?)
As for the Chargers, their value jumped from $1.525 billion in 2015 to $2.08 billion in 2016, and that’s because the team is in the ultimate win-win situation: They’re going to be playing in a new stadium soon, no matter what.
If the people of San Diego vote to approve funding for a a new stadium in November, then the Chargers will make millions by staying in San Diego. If the vote fails, then the Chargers can just move up north to LA with the Rams.
Even though you can make a bunch of money by moving your team, you can also make a ton of money by staying in one place. Just ask Jerry Jones. For the 10th consecutive year, the Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in the NFL — and also the most valuable franchise in all of sports.
The Cowboys total value jumped up from $4 billion in 2015 to $4.2 billion in 2016, which is a nice return on investment for Jones, who bought the team for $140 million in 1989.
Anyway, it was a good year to own an NFL team.
Overall, there are a total 24 teams that are worth $2 billion or more this year, a huge jump from 2015, when only nine teams were worth $2 billion or more.
You can see the complete rankings below.
NFL’s Most Valuable Teams (Worth)
(Rankings via Forbes)
Multi-billion dollar club
1. Dallas Cowboys ($4.2 billion)
2. New England Patriots ($3.4 billion)
3. New York Giants ($3.1 billion) (2015 rank: No. 4)
4. San Francisco 49ers ($3.0 billion)
5. Washington Redskins ($2.95 billion)
6. Los Angeles Rams (2.9 billion) (2015 rank: No. 28)
7. New York Jets ($2.75 billion)
8. Chicago Bears ($2.7 billion)
9. Houston Texans ($2.6 billion)
10. Philadelphia Eagles ($2.5 billion)
11. Denver Broncos ($2.4 billion)
12. Miami Dolphins ($2.38 billion) (2015 rank: No. 16)
13. Green Bay Packers ($2.35 billion) (2015 rank: No. 10)
14. Baltimore Ravens ($2.3 billion)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers ($2.25 billion)
16. Seattle Seahawks ($2.23 billion)
17. Minnesota Vikings ($2.2 billion)
18. Indianapolis Colts ($2.18 billion)
19. Atlanta Falcons ($2.13 billion)
20. Oakland Raiders ($2.1 billion) (2015 rank: No. 31)
21. San Diego Chargers (2.08 billion)
22. Carolina Panthers ($2.075 billion)
23. Arizona Cardinals ($2.03 billion)
24. Tennessee Titans ($2.0 billion)
Billion dollar club
25. Jacksonville Jaguars ($1.95 billion)
26. Kansas City Chiefs ($1.88 billion) (2015 rank: No. 21)
27. Cleveland Browns ($1.85 billion)
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1.8 billion)
29. New Orleans Saints ($1.75 billion) (2015 rank: No. 23)
30. Cincinnati Bengals ($1.68 billion)
31. Detroit Lions ($1.65 billion)
32. Buffalo Bills ($1.5 billion)
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Cowboys top Forbes’ list of NFL’s most valuable franchises, Rams at six