Forbes magazine’s annual countdown of the most valuable teams in sports is out, and just like on the field, the Patriots are in the mix of top contenders. This year’s list is particularly eyebrow-raising due to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, the sum of which will probably be delivered in dump trucks full of $100 bills.
Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen makes a couple of sharp observations right off the bat: first off, even with the NFL making record profits, soccer (or futbol, if Adriana Lima is in the room) is truly a global phenomenon. With a rabidness and love for alcohol that might only be rivaled by SEC fans’ obsession with rooting for colleges they didn’t actually attend, soccer fans in Europe and the rest of the world have made FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United valued at over $3 billion each. An American sports team makes their first appearance at #4, with the New York Yankees valued at $2.5 billion, almost a whole billion behind the $3.44 billion estimate for Real Madrid.
The second is that, as Bill Belichick has said before, “Winning cures everything.” Every team that leads the way in estimated worth also has a serious collection of championship hardware back at the office, and just about every team in the top 10 has had a dominant stretch in their league in recent memory. (Stop laughing at the Cowboys; the ‘90s are included in that assesment). The Patriots haven’t logged a losing season since people were still worried about Y2K and talking on AIM, and being consistent Vegas picks to run the AFC East and at least make it to the AFC Championship sure helps in keeping the cash registers cha-ching-ing.
Not a bad investment at all for team owner Robert Kraft, who, if you remember, bought the Patriots for $175 million. The franchise is currently valued at $1.8 billion, per Forbes.