Average NFL Team Value Falls 1st Time Since Tracking Began in ’98
This marks the first decline in average NFL team value since Forbes began tracking the league’s finances in 1998, with 21 of the league’s 32 teams seeing their worths drop and another seven maintaining flat value. Forbes analysis indicates team values slipped because the bad economy has reduced demand, and there is less non-broadcasting revenue for many teams.
Network TV Revenues Climb 1%
Despite the overall decline in average team value, NFL TV broadcasting revenue is on the rise. In 2009, national television revenue from CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox increased $1.3 million per team (1.4%) to $95.8 million for each of the league’s 32 franchises.
In addition, non-network TV revenue was $45.8 million per team, up $9.3 million (25.5%).Boosted by increasing TV profits, aggregate league revenue rose 5.8% to $8 billion.
Player Costs Rise 4%
Total player costs for the NFL increased 4% last year to $4.5 billion. Half the increase was in the form of salaries and the other half was for benefits, which were $25.8 million per team last year. As a result, operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) during the 2009 season rose to a record average of $33 million per team, $1 million (3.1%) more than the previous year.
America Loves the Cowboys
Forbes analysis indicates the most valuable NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys. The team’s value increased a league high 9%, to $1.8 billion. The team is worth more than any other sports franchise in the world except for legendary UK soccer club Manchester United ($1.84 billion).
The NFL’s 10 least valuable teams all declined in value during the past year, led by the Jacksonville Jaguars, which fell 16% to $725 million. The Detroit Lions are one of only two teams to lose money ($2.9 million) last season on an operating basis (the Miami Dolphins lost $7.7 million). This marks the third time in four years the Lions have posted an operating loss.
NFL Offseason Interest Offers Opportunity
Heightened online interest in NFL professional football during the offseason offers a marketing opportunity, according to research from Compete. Consumer behavior, both in terms of TV and the internet, indicates strong interest in the NFL even when games are not being played.
For example, the recent NFL draft, held in April 2010, had its first round held during primetime on cable sports channel ESPN. The broadcast was the fifth-most-watched cable program among US households this year.
In addition, online traffic to NFL content heavily over indexes on 18-34 year old males making more than $60,000 annually, a desirable demographic to many marketers and advertisers.
About the Data: Forbes’ valuations are enterprise values which include revenue from stadiums but not the value of the real estate.