Ranked: The most valuable sports franchises in America

Move over, baseball. When it comes to money, football is undoubtedly America's favorite pastime. Seven of the top 10 most valuable sports franchises in the country are NFL teams. Not only are most of America's 30 richest sports teams football clubs, but all 32 NFL teams also found their way into the top 50. Still, the other leagues aren't exactly going broke.

Using data from Forbes and Statista, GOBankingRates ranked the top 50 sports teams from most valuable to least. Whether you're thinking of buying a sports team or just wondering what your favorite franchise is worth, click through to learn about America's top teams — all of which are 10-figure entities — by monetary value.

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The most valuable sports franchises in America
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The most valuable sports franchises in America

1. Dallas Cowboys

Franchise value: $4.8 billion
Total championships: 5

The Cowboys' status as the country's most valuable sports franchise for 11 straight years can largely be traced to its owner, the business-savvy Jerry Jones. Jones reinvented the modern sponsorship model after buying the team for a mere $150 million. He quickly secured lucrative deals with Pepsi, Nike and other major corporations — a formula that was soon parroted by the rest of the league's owners. Today, AT&T Stadium earns $100 million a year from luxury suites alone.

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Photo credit: Getty 

2. New England Patriots

Franchise value: $3.7 billion
Total championships: 5

The New England Patriots are the most dominant NFL dynasty of this generation — and perhaps ever. Led by Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback ever to play the game, and Bill Belichick, one of history's winningest coaches, the Patriots command a $100 deposit from fans just to stand in line behind 70,000 others on a season ticket waiting list. 

Photo credit: Reuters

3. New York Yankees

Franchise value: $3.7 billion
Total championships: 27

Babe Ruth. Joe DiMaggio. Lou Gehrig. Derek Jeter. Arguably the most iconic team in all of sports, the New York Yankees boast a retired numbers list that reads like a Hall of Fame all-star roster. Although the vaunted history of the Bronx Bombers — and its unprecedented 27 championships — spans generations, one family name has dominated the pinstripes throughout the entire modern era: Steinbrenner. A new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 at the cost of $1.1 billion, but attendance has slumped since then, spurring baseball's most valuable franchise to renovate further in a bid to attract younger fans.

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Photo credit: Reuters

4. New York Knicks

Franchise value: $3.3 billion
Total championships: 2

The most valuable team in basketball for two years running, the Knickerbockers franchise holds the distinction of being one of the only publicly traded teams in all of sports. The team's owner, the Madison Square Garden Company, counts other high-profile franchises among its portfolio holdings, including hockey's New York Rangers. James Dolan, the Executive Chairman, is the de-facto owner. The struggling Knicks are suffering a years-long playoffs drought, but a newly renovated stadium helped the team break an NBA profit record in 2016 despite having one of the league's worst records. 

Photo credit: Reuters

5. New York Giants

Franchise value: $3.3 billion
Total championships: 8

For six years running, the Giants have drawn more fans to their games than any team except the Cowboys. They claim rights to one of the league's greatest receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. Fans are getting used to a new coach, Ben McAdoo, who took the team to the playoffs in the first year of his stewardship. So far in 2017, however, the team is struggling. Beckham Jr. is out for the season, and long-time quarterback Eli Manning was recently benched.

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Photo credit: Reuters

6. Washington Redskins

Franchise value: $3.1 billion
Total championships: 5

The Redskins are already making plans to replace the team's 20-year-old facility — perhaps moving back to its original stomping grounds in Washington, D.C. The franchise, which has forcefully resisted changing its controversial name, claims an operating income of $145 million in a metro market with 6.1 million potential viewers. 

Photo credit: Getty 

7. San Francisco 49ers

Franchise value: $3.05 billion
Total championships: 5

Statistically the worst team in football in 2017, the 49ers are still making the big bucks. Some income can be credited to the team's former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose refusal to stand during the National Anthem spurred a nationwide discussion and made Kaepernick a lightning rod for controversy. It also sold lots of merchandise. Kaepernick jerseys and gear are among the most popular items in the league. The fact that no NFL team hosts more non-football events than Levi's Stadium also helps keep the money rolling in. 

Photo credit: Getty 

8. Los Angeles Lakers

Franchise value: $3 billion
Total championships: 16

In 2016, one of the most successful chapters in the Lakers' storied history came to a close when Kobe Bryant retired. It would go into the books as the worst season in the long legacy of the team, which suffered its second-worst season the year prior. Still, the Lakers' giant market, its stadium earnings and the sheer power of its globally known brand keep the dollars coming. 

Photo credit: Getty

9. Los Angeles Rams

Franchise value: $3 billion
Total championships: 3

In 2016, the Rams ended a more than two-decade-long football drought in Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the country. The inaugural season was a flop on the field, but today, the team is among the 10 most valuable franchises across all major sports. Although a new $2.6 billion stadium is in the works, the nearly century-old venue the team is temporarily calling home is in the midst of a major renovation to improve the fan experience. 

Photo credit: Getty 

10. Chicago Bears

Franchise value: $2.85 billion
Total championships: 9

Rounding out the top 10 is one of the most famous names in sports, the Chicago Bears, which have been controlled by the McCaskey family for nearly a century. The team's revenue is lackluster, but the franchise is buoyed by the fact that as the city's only NFL franchise, the Bears have Chicago's loyal football fan base all to themselves.

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Photo credit: Getty 

11. Houston Texans

Franchise value: $2.8 billion
Total championships: 0

With less than 20 years of team history, the Texans boast the NFL's best defense when it comes to stinginess in yards allowed — but the franchise also lays claim to one of the worst offenses. The team's owner went into significant debt when he purchased the newly formed franchise during the 1999 expansion, but he settled those debts ahead of time and turned the Texans into the NFL's No. 8 most valuable team. 

Photo credit: Reuters

12. New York Jets

Franchise value: $2.75 billion
Total championships: 1

The modern New York Jets are, in a word, terrible. They've chalked up losing seasons every year but one dating back to 2010. Currently, the team is using cash flow from its stadium earnings to pay off old debts related to the facility's construction — but that isn't the only part of the franchise that's in a rebuilding phase. This year, the Jets retain their familiar spot in the basement of the AFC East, though they do have a better record than the Giants.  

Photo credit: Getty 

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

Franchise value: $2.75 billion
Total championships: 6

Just one team in baseball is more valuable than the Los Angeles Dodgers — and that, of course, is the Yankees. The Dodgers stay flush, in part, thanks to the team's enviably giant market. It also helps that they're good. The Dodgers took the Astros to Game 7 in one of the most dramatic and closely watched World Series in modern history, which proved to be ratings gold for Fox Sports.  

Photo credit: Reuters

14. Boston Red Sox

Franchise value: $2.7 billion
Total championships: 8

Longtime Yankees rival the Boston Red Sox is the third most valuable team in the MLB. That's thanks in part to a loyal fan base that keeps showing up to see the team play at the vaunted Fenway Park, even as ticket prices continue to skyrocket. A trip to Fenway was the priciest ticket in the league even before the Sox jacked rates once again heading into 2017, this time by nearly 3 percent. 

Photo credit: Reuters

15. Chicago Cubs

Franchise value: $2.675 billion
Total championships: 3

The Cubs have three championships to their name — but two of them came when Theodore Roosevelt was president. The Cubs' historic and all-around depressing drought ended 108 years later in 2016, when they beat the Indians in a marathon 10-inning Game 7. The price of season tickets quickly jumped by 19 percent, and the team's value increased by 22 percent in a single year. 

Photo credit: Getty

16. Philadelphia Eagles

Franchise value: $2.65 billion
Total championships: 3

Hailing from a notoriously crude and unforgiving football city, the Eagles have been called a lot of things. But today, football fans, prognosticators and pundits alike are calling the Birds something they haven't in generations: the best team in the NFL. Fan favorite and newbie quarterback since 2016, Carson Wentz is leading the team as it bulldozes through the 2017 regular season — but Wentz is far from the team's only weapon. The Eagles look like legitimate contenders, and their religiously loyal fan base is along for the ride. The season ticket waiting list is 40,000 deep, and an astonishing 99.7 percent of holders renew each year.

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Photo credit: Getty 

17. San Francisco Giants

Franchise value: $2.65 billion
Total championships: 8

In 1958, the New York Giants followed their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, to California as pioneers of West Coast baseball. More than 60 years later, just a few teams are more valuable than the San Francisco Giants (one being the Dodgers). The Giants are winners both on and off the field. Heading into the 2017 season, the Giants sold out 489 games in a row. Even better, they did it in a stadium the team owns outright, mortgage free. Since AT&T Park, which is regarded as one of the best in baseball, opened in 2000, the Giants have been to the postseason seven times and won three World Series. 

Photo credit: Getty 

18. Golden State Warriors

Franchise value: $2.6 billion
Total championships: 5

While it boasts a strong market and good gate receipts, the secret to the success of basketball's No. 3 most valuable team is simple — winning. The Warriors brought a trophy home in both 2015 and 2017. Their ratings skyrocketed, as did the cost they charged for naming rights to their new stadium in San Francisco. Their fans are so loyal that 32,000 people are on a waiting list for season tickets, and just 23 seats weren't renewed after last season.

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Photo credit: Getty

19. Denver Broncos

Franchise value: $2.6 billion
Total championships: 3

The Broncos charge a lot for tickets, but the loyal Denver fan base continues to pay big bucks to see its team play. It is, after all, one of the country's top football markets. More than 73,000 people are on the season ticket waiting list, and at 400 consecutive games over 47 years, the team boasts the longest home sellout streak in football history. 

Photo credit: Getty 

20. Miami Dolphins

Franchise value: $2.575 billion
Total championships: 2

The Dolphins squeeze into the top 20 by being a team with something for everyone. You can buy season tickets in the nosebleeds for $45 per game, or you can hobnob with the nobles for $2,000 in what Forbes calls "living room boxes." The team took the unusual but ultimately successful step of scrapping 10,000 stadium seats to give the remaining fans a better experience.

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Photo credit: Reuters

21. Green Bay Packers

Franchise value: $2.55 billion
Total championships: 13

In the world of corporate sports ownership, the Green Bay Packers — and their beloved Lambeau Field — stand alone. The team has 360,760 owners: the fans that cheer it on. Publicly owned for nearly a century, the team uses sales of shares to improve the park and prevents any one person from owning more than 200,000 shares. When snow falls on the frozen tundra, it is the fans who shovel the stadium — and the community approach has worked. No football team in history has won more championships. 

Photo credit: Getty 

22. Chicago Bulls

Franchise value: $2.5 billion
Total championships: 6

Despite generational team feuding and several letdowns with new additions, the Bulls retain the title of best attendance in the NBA. That, coupled with an incredibly powerful national and global brand, has allowed the team to maintain a place among the five most valuable NBA franchises in America.

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Photo credit: Reuters

23. Baltimore Ravens

Franchise value: $2.5 billion
Total championships: 2

Although the Ravens don't even make the top 20 biggest markets in the NFL, their fans cough up more for tickets than all but six other teams. That's partially because the Ravens are all about upgrades. The franchise has kept its fans coming back — and reaching into their wallets — by embarking on a series of massive improvements to M&T Bank Stadium, which will soon add everything from escalators to extra parking. 

Photo credit: Reuters

24. Atlanta Falcons

Franchise value: $2.475 billion
Total championships: 0

The Falcons not only made it to last year's Super Bowl, but they also took a commanding 25-point lead — only to watch it dwindle to nothing as the New England Patriots came back to do what they always do in Super Bowls — win. The Falcons still have no championships to their name, but there is some good news. Atlanta has nearly $1 billion in sponsorship commitments for the team's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which the Falcons christened during their first preseason game in August 2017.

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Photo credit: Getty 

25. Pittsburgh Steelers

Franchise value: $2.45 billion
Total championships: 6

Since 1933, the Steelers have been firmly in the grasp of three consecutive men named Rooney. That level of continuity and consistency is not limited to the team's ownership. The Steelers have had just three head coaches in 45 years, and during that time, fans have endured a mere seven losing seasons. No team in football boasts more Super Bowl wins than the six piled up by the black-and-gold. 

Photo credit: Getty 

26. Seattle Seahawks

Franchise value: $2.425 billion
Total championships: 1

The Pete Carroll era, which began in 2010, has positioned the Seahawks as one of the most reliably excellent teams in football. They've visited the playoffs five years in a row, a streak beaten by just two other teams. The Seahawks are currently heading into the back end of 2017 with another solid winning record, after bringing home a Lombardi trophy in 2013.

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Photo credit: Reuters 

27. Minnesota Vikings

Franchise value: $2.4 billion
Total championships: 1

When it comes to profitability, Minnesota is a football city banking on all things new. The Vikings are playing in a brand-new, $1.1 billion stadium. Not only did the team immediately secure 60,400 full-season seat commitments for its new digs, but the Vikings also sold out the entire season's worth of single-game tickets. The Vikings walk a delicate but successful tightrope. Tickets to games at the new stadium are more expensive than they were at the old, but the team manages to keep prices below the league average. 

Photo credit: Getty 

28. Oakland Raiders

Franchise value: $2.38 billion
Total championships: 3

In 1966, Al Davis, father of current owner Mark Davis, shelled out $180,000 to buy the Raiders. A little more than 50 years later, the team is worth nearly $2.4 billion. Although the storied team's 2016 playoff run was its first since 2002, Raiders Nation has its eyes on the future, not the past. The team will be heading to Las Vegas in 2019 or 2020. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

29. Indianapolis Colts

Franchise value: $2.375 billion
Total championships: 4

The Indianapolis Colts are a team driven by celebrity star power. Longtime quarterback and marketing powerhouse Peyton Manning helmed the team for a generation. When he left, the team turned the reins over to budding superstar Andrew Luck, who went on to sign a record-breaking contract. Today, the Colts remain one of the top 30 most valuable sports franchises in the country, despite mediocre performances in the past two years and a downright ugly 2017 so far. 

Photo credit: Getty

30. Carolina Panthers

Franchise value: $2.3 billion
Total championships: 0

The Panthers are enjoying their first season in a newly renovated stadium — one that cost the taxpayers a pretty penny, thanks to a contract that was largely mismanaged by the city and state. Few stars have risen higher and fallen farther in a short period of time than that of quarterback Cam Newton. In 2015, the Panthers quarterback was the talk of the NFL, leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance after an astonishing 15-1 regular season. By the end of the next season, however, the Panthers were losers, and Newton's heat had gone cold. So far in 2017, however, the Panthers are once again respectable. 

Photo credit: Getty 

31. Los Angeles Chargers

Franchise value: $2.275 billion
Total championships: 0

Before 2015, Los Angeles was a city without a football team, after losing the Raiders more than 20 years earlier. The Rams changed all that, and then the Chargers piled on when they too announced a move to L.A. in 2017. Now, after more than half a century, it's San Diego that's teamless. Both the Rams and the Chargers — and their fans — are looking forward to moving into a shared, $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, which is currently under construction.

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Photo credit: Getty 

32. Boston Celtics

Franchise value: $2.2 billion
Total championships: 17

Just four NBA teams are worth more than the Boston Celtics, who have racked up 17 championships over the franchise's long and storied history. No basketball team has ever won more. The team doesn't just rely on its celebrated past to make money, though. The Celtics recently became one of a handful of teams to sign a jersey sponsorship deal. The GE logo now appears on the team's trademark green-and-white jerseys. 

Photo credit: Getty 

33. Arizona Cardinals

Franchise value: $2.15 billion
Total championships: 2

The Cardinals had been sitting pretty with a 20-year naming rights agreement with the University of Phoenix. Unfortunately, the for-profit school pulled out after just 11 years. Eager to keep its place among the most valuable sports franchises, the Cardinals are already in talks with a casino operator to ink a new naming rights deal. 

Photo credit: Getty 

34. Kansas City Chiefs

Franchise value: $2.1 billion
Total championships: 2

The Andy Reid era has been kind to the Chiefs — at least during the regular season. Kansas City has racked up an impressive string of winning seasons over the past four years, but each time it's fizzled out fast in the playoffs. To enhance the fan experience, the team has instituted a program that gives fans mobile phone access to all preseason and regular season home games for just $200. 

Photo credit: Getty 

35. Jacksonville Jaguars

Franchise value: $2.075 billion
Total championships: 0

Perennial AFC South doormats, the Jaguars have to look back to 2010 for the franchise's only non-losing season since 2008 — that year, they went 8-8. Their owner, however, is a force of nature. Self-made immigrant Shahid Khan has revamped the team's financial structure and taken the Jags international, earning massive revenue from just one game in London. He also heads major development projects in Jacksonville that stand to pump big bucks into both the city and team. 

Photo credit: Getty

36. Tennessee Titans

Franchise value: $2.05 billion
Total championships: 2 (as the Houston Oilers)

Dating back to 1959 and the founding of the AFL, the Tennessee Titans owner picked up the club for a mere $25,000. The organization has dramatically grown in value over the last several years, enjoying a full 25 percent annualized increase. That trend is poised to continue if the team's on-field performance is any indicator — the Titans are currently perched atop the AFC South.

Photo credit: Getty 

37. Los Angeles Clippers

Franchise value: $2 billion
Total championships: 0

The Clippers are on a four-year run that stands as the best in the franchise's history. The team is also reaping the benefits of a contract extension that doubled its take from an exclusive deal with Fox Sports Prime Ticket. As of this year, the six-year extension allows the team to pull in as much as $55 million per season, up from the $25 million the deal paid last year. Unfortunately, Clippers star Blake Griffin is out for two months with an MCL sprain and the team's chances of making the playoffs are now slim. 

Photo credit: Getty 

38. New Orleans Saints

Franchise value: $2 billion
Total championships: 1

It's been years since the Saints have given their fans a reason to celebrate once the regular season ends — they haven't made the playoffs since 2013. Also, the team's ownership has been embroiled in a nasty and prolonged series of lawsuits over the last few years. This year, however, the Saints are roaring into the back end of the season at the top of the NFC South.

Photo credit: Getty 

39. New York Mets

Franchise value: $2 billion
Total championships: 2

The Mets ended the 2017 season with 92 losses — worse than every team in the National League East except the lowly Phillies. The season prior, the team's playoff run ended with the wild-card game. The Mets, however, went to the World Series in 2015, and attendance in 2016 was 10 percent higher than the year prior. The team also passed another landmark milestone that year — it was the first time in the history of broadcasting network SNY that the Mets got better ratings than the Yankees.

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Photo credit: Getty

40. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Franchise value: $1.975 billion
Total championships: 1

Prior to 2016, Tampa Bay's first winning season since 2010, the Bucs endured a hideous five-year run at or near the bottom of the NFC South. While the team raised prices more than 20 percent, tickets are still far cheaper than the league average. If fans keep coming back, it might be because the team is in the midst of a massive, $150 million stadium renovation that will add 60,000 square feet of lounge space. 

Photo credit: Getty 

41. Cleveland Browns

Franchise value: $1.95 billion
Total championships: 8

The last time the Cleveland Browns won a playoff game was 1994. That kicked off an eight-year postseason drought that lingered until 2002, when a glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished in the opening wild-card round of the playoffs. Recently, the team drastically lowered ticket prices to compensate for the fact that fan attendance is among the worst in the league. In the end, however, the Browns are an NFL team, which makes them lucrative by default. 

Photo credit: Getty 

42. Brooklyn Nets

Franchise value: $1.8 billion
Total championships: 0

The Nets joined the Celtics and Warriors in the tiny fraternity of franchises that have signed jersey sponsorship deals. The Nets will wear the logo of software company Infor, which gives the team millions each year to compel players to serve as running, jumping advertisements. The firm will also provide data analytics services off the court. The Nets currently have the lowest payroll in the NBA. 

Photo credit: Getty 

43. Cincinnati Bengals

Franchise value: $1.8 billion
Total championships: 0

Across the state from the Browns is another team that wears orange and depends on NFL profit-sharing for more than 70 percent of its revenue — the Cincinnati Bengals. Unlike the Browns, the Bengals have been to the playoffs six times since 2006, but they haven't won in January since the early 1990s — 1991, to be exact. 

Photo credit: Getty 

44. St. Louis Cardinals

Franchise value: $1.8 billion
Total championships: 11

The No. 7 most valuable team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals are worth almost exactly as much as the No. 30 most valuable team in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals. In order to get there, the Cards had to win double-digit championships, earn a spot in the postseason five of the last six years and draw both the second-highest attendance in all of baseball and the league's second-best local television ratings. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

45. Los Angeles Angels

Franchise value: $1.75 billion
Total championships: 1

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play in a crowded market, but one that contributes to more than 45 percent of its value. Although the Angels missed the playoffs after finishing under .500 in 2017 — and suffer from the third-worst television ratings in baseball — more than 3 million people have showed up to the stadium every year for 14 years, partially thanks to the club's low, $33 average non-premium ticket.

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Photo credit: Getty 

46. Detroit Lions

Franchise value: $1.7 billion
Total championships: 4

Between 1957 and 2017, the Detroit Lions won exactly one playoff game, and that was in 1991. They've fielded two of the worst five teams of the last three decades and, in 2013, statistical number crunchers crowned the franchise the worst team in all of American sports. Although the Lions are working on major stadium upgrades, currently only the Bills are worth less in the NFL. 

Photo credit: Getty 

47. Houston Rockets

Franchise value: $1.65 billion (prior to sale)
Total championships: 2

One of the 10 most valuable teams in basketball, the Houston Rockets underwent a change of ownership in October 2017. Restaurant magnate Tilman Fertitta purchased the team for an NBA record $2.2 billion. Considering the franchise was valued at $1.65 billion, the sale price would represent nine times the team's 2016 revenue. 

Photo credit: Getty 

48. Philadelphia Phillies

Franchise value: $1.65 billion
Total championships: 2

Over the last half-decade, the Phillies' payroll, win-loss ratio and attendance have all plummeted. And the notoriously fickle Philly fans registered their disapproval at the turnstile, giving the team one of the league's worst attendance records. The club remains one of the 10 most valuable in the MLB, however, thanks to a $5 billion, quarter-century TV deal with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

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Photo credit: Getty 

49. Buffalo Bills

Franchise value: $1.6 billion
Total championships: 2

Even though it's the least valuable franchise in the NFL — an organization with 32 teams — the Buffalo Bills still make the top 50 most valuable sports franchises in America. They haven't been to the playoffs once in the 21st century, they haven't won in the postseason since 1995, and they've never won a Super Bowl, though they lost four in a row in the early 1990s. Currently, the team is, once again, in a rebuilding phase. 

Photo credit: Getty 

50. Washington Nationals

Franchise value: $1.6 billion
Total championships: 0

The Washington Nationals took the National League East for four of the last six years, with the club finishing the regular season those years with at least 95 wins. The bad news is, they've been one and done in the playoffs every time. That fact that they have one of the highest payrolls in baseball is negated by the owner's deep pockets — Ted Lerner is the third-richest owner in the sport. 

Photo credit: Getty 

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Methodology: Valuations via Forbes. NHL valuations established December 2016; NBA valuations established February 2017; MLB valuations established April 2017; NFL valuations established September 2017. Rankings do not account for recent sales or expansion teams.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Value of the Top 50 US Sports Franchises, Ranked 

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