Want to buy the Los Angeles Rams? It’ll run you six big ones.
And we don’t mean millions.
Sportico, a widely respected media organization that covers sports and business, listed the Rams’ overall value at $5.91 billion in its annual report of NFL teams, the second most valuable franchise in the league.
The Dallas Cowboys remain the most valuable property in all of American professional sports at $7.64 billion. Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees are the only other franchise in America with a valuation of over $7 billion.
For the Rams, it’s an increase of 26 percent over last year, which ties the Las Vegas Raiders for the biggest jump in the NFL. The Rams passed the New England Patriots ($5.88 billion) for the second overall spot on the list.
The Rams co-tenant at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Chargers, saw their value rise 21 percent to $3.62 billion, which ranks them 19th in the NFL.
The cumulative value of each of the NFL’s 32 franchises is $132 billion.
Where Do They Get the Numbers?
NFL franchises are privately owned (except for the Green Bay Packers) so getting full accounting details from each team is impossible. What Sportico does is look at the fair market value of an NFL franchise and pair it with the value of team-related businesses and real estate holdings.
The real estate holdings are where the Rams set themselves apart.
Rams owner Stanley Kroenke, who bought the franchise for $750 million when in 2010 when it was still in St. Louis, generates some nice coin from SoFi Stadium and the Hollywood Park development that surrounds the stadium.
Sportico listed the Rams’ business and real estate holdings at $869 million, which is easily the most of any NFL team. Not even the Cowboys, with their various business interests and Jerry Jones-owned The Star training facility, can match that figure.
Is This Really What it’s Worth?
There’s an old line in businesses and baseball cards: they’re worth what someone will pay for it.
That Mike Trout rookie card may be listed as having a value of $100 bucks, but if you find someone who will pay 200, then it’s worth 200.
Walmart heir Rob Walton agreed to pay $4.65 billion for the Denver Broncos, the first sale of an NFL franchise since the Carolina Panthers were bought for $2.28 billion in 2018.
What does Sportico list as the value of the Broncos? $4.65 billion. That ranks 10th overall in the NFL.
Sportico uses that number as a benchmark for other franchises. Are the Rams worth more than the Broncos? Sure. Los Angeles is a bigger market, the stadium is newer, and the Rams just won a Super Bowl.
Are the Broncos worth more than, say, the Miami Dolphins? At the moment. yes. The Dolphins have an older stadium and have not experienced as much success on the field. The Dolphins check in at $4.06 billion.
The other big enhancement to the value of an NFL franchise is the scarcity. There are only 32 franchises. Sportico lists only 10 NFL franchises that have changed hands since 2002. Even if you had $6 billion laying around, like me (just kidding), you can’t just walk into a mall and order an NFL team.
What’s the Value in Knowing the Value?
Kroenke’s investment of $750 million back in 2010 to now represents a 688 percent increase in 12 years.
While winning a Super Bowl certainly enhances a team’s value, it’s not that big of a push because the ancillary properties, like selling Super Bowl championship merchandise, are still all divided by the NFL teams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won the Super Bowl in 2021, rank No. 24 in the NFL at $3.28 billion.
Where a list like Sportico helps is allowing NFL owners to increase their own investments in other properties and establish more lines of credit.
If anything, it hurts them when it comes to player-owner negotiations and fans may wonder why a drink costs $13 bucks at the stadium.
But the NFL is, was, and always will be a business. For the Rams, business has never been better on and off the field.