The World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Every team’s general manager starts off with the same goal: to build a franchise that contends for championships year in and year out.
However, with the nature of the business being what it is, the odds are stacked against any team trying to achieve this. Out of close to 30 teams in most leagues, only one franchise can come out on top with a championship. And with unprecedented parity in most major leagues, every management decision is a crucial one. One smart draft choice or trade can put a team in a position to win, but a single mistake can also make a team a perennial bottom dweller.
Owners have a similar perspective, but they also want to build a franchise that is worth money in the long-run. To do that, they need to consider factors outside of winning: merchandise sales, sponsorships, costs, and other business decisions need to be made. They need to figure out how to capture the imagination of fans, and how to salvage the value of a franchise even when they are losing most games.
Today’s chart, using data from Forbes, is a hat tip to the teams that are lucky enough to count themselves among the most valuable in the world. Further, we also look at how the list has changed over time, and what happens to the valuations of franchises that are fortunate to be contenders on an ongoing basis.
What Makes a Team Valuable?
Multi-billion dollar sports teams don’t just grow on trees.
Instead, the massive value assigned to teams like the Dallas Cowboys or Manchester United is the culmination of a variety of important factors: market size, fan appeal, sport economics, international cross-over potential, profit, success, history, and many others.
Here’s a Top 10 List of the world’s most valuable sports teams – and how that list has changed since 2010.
The ranking list has a few big takeaways on what is needed to become a valuation monster:
Market size matters:
New York and Los Angeles do very well for valuation, even without many recent championships. These places are home to millions of fans, as well as massive amounts of dollars to be made from sponsors and media rights.
Recent success helps:
The Patriots have made seven Super Bowl appearances since 2000, cementing the franchise as one of the most valuable sports teams in the world.
Recent failures hurt:
The Redskins haven’t won a playoff series since 2005 (Wildcard) – and partially as a result, they have fallen out of the Top 10 ranking for the most valuable sports teams in 2017.
History is a factor:
Manchester United hasn’t won the EPL in the last few years, but the club’s history speaks for itself. The Yankees have been mediocre in the last five years, but fans know they’ll be back eventually.
Sport economics are key:
Why are there so many NFL teams on the Top 50 list? The economics just work better, and it translates to team valuations.
What’s unique about Manchester United, the Yankees, or the Patriots? You’ll see people wearing their gear all around the world – they have rare cross-over appeal to international markets, and this means more dough.
Championships and Team Value
It’s clear that winning has a role in team value – but how big of a difference can it make?
Next, we’ll look at how value has changed for teams that have been particularly successful in recent years, like the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots, and Chicago Blackhawks.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors franchise is worth +622% more than it was back in 2010, thanks to recent success. The team has made the finals in each of the last three years – and they’ve taken home the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy twice.
New England Patriots
Like other perennial champions, the Pats have their fair share of detractors. Team owner Robert Kraft likely doesn’t care though – his team is now worth $3.4 billion, a 150% increase in value since 2010. They also have the hardware to show for it.
Despite a storied history as an “Original 6” team in the NHL, the Blackhawks found themselves in a bit of a funk in the 2000s. That all changed in 2006 and 2007, when the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane – and now the team has won three Stanley Cups since 2010.
Recent winning streaks do help – and championships translate to other value categories as well. Winning builds the team’s history and brand, converts bandwagon fans, and helps teams create an international presence.
Or as the late Al Davis often said, “Just win, baby.”
One Team Towns
To finish, here’s a final visualization that highlights the valuations of franchises in “One Team Towns” – cities in North America that each hold only one of the Big Four (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) franchises.
Of course, once the Raiders move to Las Vegas after their current lease expires, this map will change once again.
Ranked: The Richest Countries in the World
These countries hold 74% of the world’s $204 trillion in private wealth. See the 10 richest countries, and how their totals have changed over time.
Ranked: The Richest Countries in the World
Since the 2008 financial crisis, global private wealth has been steadily growing.
In fact, overall private wealth worldwide reached $204 trillion in 2018, which is a 26% increase over the past decade.
This week’s chart, which uses numbers from the Global Wealth Migration Review 2019, examines the top 10 richest countries and the growth of private wealth from 2008 to 2018.
|Rank||Country||Private Wealth in $USD (2018)||10-yr change (%)|
|#1||🇺🇸 United States||$60.7 trillion||27%|
|#2||🇨🇳 China||$23.6 trillion||130%|
|#3||🇯🇵 Japan||$19.1 trillion||18%|
|#4||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||$9.1 trillion||4%|
|#5||🇩🇪 Germany||$8.8 trillion||7%|
|#6||🇮🇳 India||$8.1 trillion||96%|
|#7||🇦🇺 Australia||$6.0 trillion||48%|
|#8||🇨🇦 Canada||$6.0 trillion||23%|
|#9||🇫🇷 France||$5.9 trillion||-7%|
|#10||🇮🇹 Italy||$3.8 trillion||-14%|
Combined, the 10 countries above represent 74% of total private wealth worldwide.
These trends are staying consistent with the numbers seen in 2017. Asian countries such as China and India showed the highest uptick in wealth gains, holding their #2 and #3 spots on the list, while European countries such as France and Italy actually saw a decrease.
Trends in the Wealth Landscape
Over the last 10 years, China has experienced the largest increase in wealth at 130%. This growth also means that China now boasts more high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) than any other country except the United States.
While India doubled its total private wealth over the 10-year period, wealth per adult remains at just 22% of the global average.
The U.S. continues to lead in wealth numbers, holding 30% ($60.7 trillion) of the world’s total private wealth. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. remains home to the most millionaires in the world.
The World’s Millionaires: Top 3 Countries
- United States: 17,350,000
- China: 3,480,000
- Japan: 2,809,000
- World total: 42,155,000
Source: Credit Suisse
Australia now tops the above list in terms of highest wealth per adult, and it is second in the world only to Switzerland in the context of major nations.
Despite the recent turmoil and uncertainty stemming from Brexit, the United Kingdom still saw overall growth in the past decade, moving from #5 to #4 rank on the list of countries with the highest private wealth.
Projections from New World Wealth estimate that total global wealth will reach $291 trillion by 2028, driven by strong growth in Asia.
Rising Wealth Inequality
Unfortunately, this growth is also linked to the growing problem of wealth inequality gap across the globe, and the gap seems to get bigger every year.
The average global wealth per adult is approximately $27,000 – but of the total adult population, 64% have a net worth of less than $10,000. The bottom half of adults in the world now own less than 1% of all household wealth.
By contrast, 85% of all household wealth is owned by the richest 10%, and the top 1% own almost half (47%) of the world’s household wealth.
The eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind the Sector’s Explosive Growth
Everything you need to know about the eSports Boom, including the sector’s rapid growth, massive prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.
The oldest professional sport teams can trace their start back to the mid-19th century, a period when casual past times such as baseball or football transitioned into more organized leagues.
Since this tipping point, pro sports has thrived around the world, and the business of sports has evolved into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem for teams, leagues, players, merchandisers, sponsors, broadcasters, and event spaces.
Today, this evolution still continues – and it is being driven by the emergence of eSports (electronic sports), an exciting frontier for fans and business alike.
Today’s chart breaks down the eSports boom, including data on the sector’s rapid growth, prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.
Despite having a reputation in the media and in popular culture as being on the fringes, it is clear that gaming is now a truly mainstream phenomenon.
In fact, the global gaming industry has now eclipsed $135 billion in revenue worldwide – a figure that is twice as much as the film and music industries combined.
With hundreds of millions of avid fans around the world, demand to watch the most elite gamers has reached a fever pitch – and now, it’s not uncommon to see sold-out arenas, big name sponsorship deals, and massive prize pools in the name of eSports.
Defining the eSports Ecosystem
Like any professional league, eSports creates the foundation for an entire ecosystem of opportunities.
Players are central to the ecosystem, since they are the stars and they have their own personalities. One famous star is Kuro Takhasomi (KuroKy), who has brought in a whopping $4.2 million in prize money from Dota 2 tournaments so far. He has earned more than any other player in eSports.
Because the games played are mostly team-based, there is a crucial element of teamwork involved. eSports franchises are currently selling for millions of dollars. It’s worth noting that these franchises don’t just employ players – they also hire staff that can better ensure the success of players, such as coaches, trainers, and personal chefs.
Games and Developers
Some of the most important games in the eSports world right now include: Dota 2, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Call of Duty.
Leagues and tournaments can offer massive prize pools for players. The biggest single pool so far was $25.5 million, offered for a Dota 2 tournament in 2017 (“The International”). It’s the second-largest prize pool offered in any kind of sport, behind the U.S. Open (tennis).
Running eSports events is big money, and organizers of events can tap into sponsorship and fan revenue. Sometimes game publishers will organize the events, but third-party ones also exist in the ecosystem.
Sponsors like Coca-Cola, Intel, and Mercedes-Benz have shelled out millions of dollars to sponsor events and reach the massive audiences associated with eSports. In more recent news, SAP signed a deal to sponsor one of the biggest names, Team Liquid.
Broadcasters, both traditional and online (YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, etc.), are also in to get a part of the action. Recently, game developer Blizzard signed a broadcasting deal with Disney to broadcast Overwatch League playoffs on ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD.
What do you think is the most exciting part of the eSports boom, and why?
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