YOUR INTRO TO OUR RANKINGS
TOP 64 SPORT FRANCHISES IN THE WORLD
Our evaluations are based on comparative quality, net worth and solidness. We take note of each club’s following in social media. We do follow the money, recognizing that the figures we have on net value are from a variety of only moderately reliable sources over past three years and not that consistently useful. We judge quality by rankings and winning record, and long-term solidity by net value in dollars, giving slight priority to the former: In July, 2018, we have taken into account the championships of the NBA and NHL in 2018. Beyond that, there is still much to unfold in 2018 in the major leagues of football/soccer, football in Europe, NFL football, and American baseball. In late July 2010 we will begin new assessments, taking into account the new trades (Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James, et al).
1. Barcelona (Soccer/Football, La Liga, Spain). Currently ranked number one in many world soccer power rankings, this team has a net value of $3.6 billion dollars, fourth in the world of all sporting clubs. This is a case of the best athletes performing well at team play. This team number one in world in social media: 160 million followers.
2. Philadelphia Eagles. (American gridiron tackle football, National Football League, USA). Winners of the Super Bowl, they are the number one team in American style tackle football until we get some new power rankings well into the 2018 league competition, which begins in September, 2018 For their accomplishments, Net Worth of 1.6 billion dollars is relatively low.
3. New England Patriots (American gridiron football, National Football League, USA). The number 2 team in American football, given the outcome of the 2018 Superbowl. Net Worth $3.4 billion dollars, they are close to Barcelona in wealth and the sixth wealthiest sport team in the world. (Since they are in the same financial category of the North American baseball team called the New York Yankees and the football club called the Dallas Cowboys, both ranked well below, we can only observe that the premiere athletes purchased by the Yankees and the Cowboys simply do not always compete as well as they should at these team sports.) Is there quarterback too old for 2018/
4. Real Madrid (Soccer/Football, La Liga, Spain). How good will this club be after Cristiano Ronaldo? With a net value of 3.5 billion dollars, they are also the fifth wealthiest team in our world rankings. The only way to ascertain if they are better or worse than the North American NFL Eagles or the NFL Patriots might be to have them meet off-season for a rugby “friendly.” All four of these teams arguably have the ability to purchase best athletes in the world and beat everyone else most of the time. Let's see what evolves in a world of Real Madrid without Ronaldo. Social media: 160 million followers.
5. Golden State Warriors (Basketball, National Basketball Association or NBA, USA). NBA champions in 2018. But even before the playoffs were completed, we agreed with those Vegas experts who thought, before the NBA playoffs, this is the best NBA team, as it will be fgor us until at least December, 2018. With net wealth of $2.6 billion dollars, they are twenty-first in value in the world. We know the Warriors enjoy superior cardio training to the top four teams above them, but we are certain they would not compete well with these four in the proposed rugby friendly, even though Damon Green could keep things interesting. The Warriors played well in NBA playoffs in 2018, surprising the Houston Rockets in Western Conference Finals, then sweeping the Cavaliers in four.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (American gridiron football, National Football League, USA). We think the difference between this team, the Houston Rockets, and Bayern Munchen is minuscule. Founded in 1933, this team has won 6 national championships. Net Worth: 2.25 billion dollars.
7. Bayern Munchen. (Football/Soccer, Bundesliga, Germany). Has won Bundesliga 27 times; founded in 1900. Perennial powerhouse in international competition, this team is worth $2.7 billion dollars; thus, they are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 15th among the world’s wealthiest teams. Kind of the Pittsburgh Steelers of football/soccer, they dominated in Europe as the dynasty team for a few years before the Steelers became the dynasty team for American tackle football in the U.S. They fit comfortably in these rankings right behind (or right ahead of) the Steelers and well ahead of the struggling but wealthy Dodgers. Social media: 52 million followers.
8. New Orleans Saints (American football, NFL, USA). They competed at the level of the Pittsburch Steelers and Minnesota Vikings. The coach perhaps shares training issues with #7 Bayern Munchen: how to keep the players away from the local excesses of brew and salty food. Net Worth: $965 million dollars.
9, Chelsea. One of the traditional powers of British Premier League, with a stadium with as much mystique as Fenway in Boston, located in upscale Chelsea itself, has opened the 2018 league play 2-0 and playing well. Since the owner Roman Abramovich is one of the wealthiest billionaires in the world, talk about net worth is not that pertinent. This club is among the most wealthy in the world. Strong start in new season 2018.
9. Minnesota Vikings (American giridron football, NFL, USA). Athletes comparable to the ones contracted at similar salaries in Munich and New Orleans. When Norway gets their first NFL team (and they have the billions of oil money quietly stashed away to do exactly that), they would be an interesting candidate to buy the Oslo Vikings. The 2.2 billion dollar purchaser fee would be a minor cost in the Norwegian economy.
10. New York Yankees (Major League Baseball, USA). Net worth: $3.7 billion. This is one of the best professional baseball teams in U.S. during May and June 2018 and their net worth is ranked number two in the world, behind the Dallas Cowboys football club, and ahead of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. In May, June and July of 2018, have been playing closer to the expectations of their net value and seem likely to rise in these rankings in June. Twitter following: 3,287,000.
11. Boston Red Sox (Major League Baseball, USA). Playing quite well in 2018, and most North Americans think of them as underdogs… despite their $2.7 billion dollar operation-- which makes them the seventeenth richest team in the world. Since this is the only sport in the world in which each team decides many of the dimensions of the playing field, we love the quaint setup of this admittedly weird baseball stadium in Boston almost as much as the occasional bad play of this team. We Americans have written tons of books about the subject, but no one really knows exactly why we fund this multi-billion dollar industry for such a slow and seemingly dull sport so happily. In some way, it must be related somehow to the billions of dollars to be spent for the World Cup rituals in Moscow. There are far more theories about this (written mostly by academics) than there are theories of literature or climate change. In May 2018 playing the best baseball in USA. Twitter following: 1,992,000.
12. Juventus (Football/Soccer, Italy). These are the St. Louis Cardinals of Italy: past glory, some history of dynasties, generally competitive today, but without the huge financial resources of the NFL New England Patriots or Real Madrid. Clarification: In 2018 Juventus playing a little better than the baseball club in St. Louis called the Cardinals. The CEO owns FIAT. We need a few more weeks to assimilate exactly what it means to have Cristiano Ronaldo on this team. So far, all we know is that season tickets are sold out and he is wearing No. 7 on his jersey. Net Worth: $1.35 billion. Social media: 35 million (the two latter figures are pre-Ronaldo).
13. Tottenham-Hotspur (Football/Soccer, Premier League, England). They opened their 2018 English Premier League season sporting new aqua colored jerseys and a 2-1 victory over Newcastle. They begin Premier League play with no transfers (trades) at the August deadline. They have less resources than even the New Orleans Saints of the American NFL or the Los Angeles Angels American baseball clubs. Like these teams, they compete more on skill and street smarts than brawn and dollars. Despite all this, they do not do poorly on social media, where they have a following of 11 million. Net Worth: $1.6 billion.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers (Basketball, NBA, USA). Their exact place in the world will be perfectly clear at the completion of the NBA Finals. We doubted they would finish 2018 higher than number 14 in world but Lebron James took them past the Boston Celtics in Eastern Conference finals. They are the kind of the Dortmund of the U.S., with a small market, but wonderful fan base--second strongest fan base (attendance) in the NBA, and likely to stay that way until Lebron James does his next transfer. The owner became wealthy doing online loans. Net worth $1.37 billion.
15. Carolina Panthers (American gridiron football, NFL, USA). Very competitive American tackle football professional franchise, considering its modest net worth. Recently David Tettler, who is worth eleven billion dollars himself, purchased this team for 2.3 billion.
16. Los Angeles Rams (American football, NFL, USA). This is a very competitive market for a team that recently moved from St.Lojuis, although it has historical roots in California: now they have to compete with the tackle football club called the Chargers (formerly of San Diego), and two soccer/football clubs, the newest of which is the super cool Los Angeles Football Club. They have playing at a level among the upper half in the National Football League and are completing a gigantic stadium near downtown Los Angeles that could well allow them to compete soon with the Dallas Cowboys as the Number One brand in the world, or at least with Real Madrid. (The American tackle football team in Dallas, with its monumental stadium, is worth 4.2 billion, number one in the world for a sport team.) More on this team once the tackling starts in August.
17. Atlético Madrid (Football/Soccer, La Liga, Spain). This modestly financed club has been the winner of 10 domestic league championships and of Europa final in May, 2018. These are the Oakland A’s of European style football/soccer: with limited resources, they still win a lot. Net Value: 732 million. Social media: 19 million.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (American gridiron football, NFL, USA) Net worth $1.9 billion dollars.
19. Manchester City. (Football/soccer, English Premier League). First in Premier League in 2017-2018. Their 2.0 billion dollar net worth is in the range of Carolina Panthers American football team and several other teams near Manchester City in this ranking. Dominated over Arsenal in past three years and dominated in 2018 league play opener in August 2018. Play fluid 4 or 3 back and effective, fast midfileders. Social media: 30 million.
20. Liverpool FC (Football/Soccer, English Premier League, England). Founded in Anfield, Liverpool in 1892, a year before the New York Gothams (SF Giants of today). Net worth:1.42 million. Social media: 40 million followers.
21. Arizona Cardinals (American gridiron football, NFL, USA) Net worth $2 billion dollars.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (Major League Baseball, USA). Playing extremely well in first quarter of 2018 league season. Net worth: $1.21 billion.
23. Atlanta Falcons (American gridiron football, National Football League, USA). Net worth 2.1 billion.
24. Kansas City Chiefs (American gridiron football, National Football League, USA). Small market team can play with the big boys from time to time. Net worth: $986 million.
25. Paris Saint Germaine (Football/Soccer, Ligue 1, France). Founded 1970. We like the fan cost: ticket prices below the cost of most Major League Baseball in USA. Once you factor in the cost of the flight New York to Paris, things do get a little costly. Modestly financed, with a Net worth: $841 million, this is the world’s eleventh wealthiest football/soccer club. Social media: 38 million followers.
26. Houston Rockets (Basketball, NBA, USA). With a season record superior to the Golden State Warriors or anyone else, the Rockets had an excellent argument for being number 5 in the world. The problem is, NBA players begin to operate in their elite athlete mode in April and May in the playoffs; October through March is the warm up, almost as if it were a football friendly, To gain the coveted number 5 slot in these world rankings, the Rockets needed to win the NBA finals. They were not superior to Warriors in Western Conference Finals of 2018, losing in seven games. Chris Paul is not an NBA championship quality player for his body never survives playoff-level intensity. The Rockets need another star to compete better in 2019. The owner of this basketball franchise could afford another star player: he is so rich and elitist that he charges $50,000 dollars to join his private vineyard and wine club. The Rockets’ Net worth, 1.25 billion dollars, is relatively low among the top world clubs.
27. Boston Celtics (Basketball, NBA, USA). Their exact place of this young team will be perfectly clear at the completion of the NBA Finals. A classic American sports team, they have won several NBA championships. In the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2018, they lost to Cleveland Cavaliers in seven. The owners are venture capitalists who got rich investing in medical instruments. Net Worth: $730 million.
28. Manchester United (Football/Soccer, English Premier League, England). An international powerhouse most years, the team’s net worth is third in world of all sports team: $3.69 billion dollars. These are the New York Yankees of the Premier League. Social media following third in world: 98 million followers.
29. Houston Astros (Major League Baseball, USA). This team continues playing really well in 2018 and there is talk in American baseball circles of this team becoming a dynasty, even though their resources ($2.6 billion) are not quite in that range. Since 2017, however, they are the best of the teams playing hard ball for dollars in the USA. Meanwhile, their competitors in New York (this wealthy and athletically gifted grouping that we call the New York Yankees) are operating above the financial level of Barcelona, Real Madrid and the New England Patriots. (If you are reading this a nation indifferent to American baseball, but find the Yankees 3.6 billion dollar operation less than admirable, consider buying a black hat with SF or a red one with B and you will then be associated with great American cities to visit…and decent baseball teams that you can pretend to be watching while you are actually following the World Cup on your cell phone). Houston Twitter following: 1,324,000.
30. St. Louis Cardinals.(MLB, USA) An old team dating back to the nineteenth century, these guys wearing the same nineteenth pants and stockings as in 1995 while are playing baseball fourth best in Major League Baseball in the U.S. This is a very solid organization, so we know that as long as North Americans can keep playing this boring and slow sport with a season that is two months too long, the Cardinals will be playing this game in St.Louis. One factor of which you might not be aware if you only watch European-style kickball: baseball is geeks heaven in statistics, and we keep inventing new statistical categories that we include under the umbrella of “analytics.” Net worth: $1.4 billion, making it the 27th most valuable sports franchise in the world.
31. New Orleans Pelicans (Basketball, NBA, USA). This promising young basketball club had a good start in NBA playoffs, 2018. They played very well into second round of playoffs, but lost to Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry in this second round. Net worth: $650 million. A team that will have the attention of smart bettors in 2018-2019 season.
32. Philadelplhia 76ers (Basketball, NBA, USA). A highly-talented young team that lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of NBA playoffs in 2018. Not as well financed as the young Pelicans: Net worth: 276 million.
33. SSC Napoli (Football/Soccer, Italy). Net worth: $379 million. Located in the U.S., this would be a small-market tackle football team, but a very well financed football/soccer club in the MLS of the U.S, well ahead of the wealthiest football/soccer club in USA: LA Galaxy at #315 million.
34. Washington Capitals (Ice Hockey, NHL, USA). NHL Champions. Not well endowed financially, but they do have the most accomplished player, Alex Ovechkin, at putting that mostly invisible little puck in that little net. Net worth: $197 Million.
35. AS Roma (Football/Soccer, Italy). Remember: the Italians are the brains behind the foundation of some of those great kickballing clubs in Brazil, such as Palmeiras. We expect this club to rise in rankings in 2019. Playing in Pasadena, California in July 2018. Net Worth: $569 million. Social media: 10 million followers.
36. Tampa Bay Lightning (Ice hockey, National Hockey League (NHL), USA). Finished regular season in 2018 with best record in NHL. In 2018, the brightest light in professional team sports in the State of Florida with mostly dismal clubs. Net worth: 390 Million placing them among the most noteworthy overachievers of team clubs in the world, comparable to Atlético Madrid. Played well into the final round of the playoffs of the National Hockey League in 2018, eventually losing to Washington Capitals.
37. Valencia (Football/Soccer, La Liga, Spain) With a Net worth of $288 million, Valencia attempts to compete with the European sport giants with the modest resources of a profesional hockey club or Major League Soccer in the U.S. Given these numbers, they do relatively well.
38. Los Angeles Angels (Major League Baseball, USA). After the first two weeks of the baseball season, Los Angeles Angels had one of the best records. By August,, they have demonstrated they cannot compete with the best, i.e. Boston Red Sox. With a net worth of $1.7 billion dollars, this is not really one of the most wealthy baseball clubs, and not among the elite in quality either. They have a star (Mike Trout) and, just as obviously, a star wanna-be (Ohtami). The long-term manager, Mike Sciosa, with one World Series champsionhip under his belt for a career, is done after this 2018 season is over.
39. Arsenal (Football/Soccer, Premier League, England). Founded soon after Liverpool and the New York Gothams (SF Giants) in 1886. With the pedigree of Harvard or Yale, but not quite the endowment. Enters new era under Umai Emery in August, 2018. His first teamsheet vs. Manchester City: Cech, Belllerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Miles,Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Mikhtaryan, AubaMeyang. A little sloppy and lacking energy in opener vs Manchester City. In first two games, both losses, some glaring bad habits on defense, and that lack of energy and intentionality. Net worth: $1.9 billion. Social Media: 55 million followers.
40. Monaco (Football/Soccer). Net worth of owner: $9.1 billion.
41. Dallas Cowboys (American gridiron football, NFL, USA). This is the richest sports club in the world. Once we get passed the World Cup and into the doldrums of baseball in August and these huge guys start tackling super fast runners, we promise to provide more comment on this unique franchise. Net worth: $4.2 billion.
42. Toronto Maple Leafs (Ice Hockey, NHL, USA). The 2018 season did not turn out that well, but this is a valuable team. We are confident 2019 will bring an improved ranking. Net worth $1.1 billion.
43. San Francisco 49rs (American gridiron football, NFL, USA). This world center of love and peace, only surpassed by Nepal in meditators per capita, also loves its violent weekly clashes of exceptionally large and heavy human beings running very fast directly toward each other. Net worth: $2.7 billion.
44. Washington Redskins (American football, NFL, USA). The team name seems to be offensive for almost everyone living in other regions of the United States but the rest of the operation is venerable. And prospering. Their $2.8 million dollars in net worth in 2016 placed them 8th in world as a sporting club and third highest among U.S. professional clubs that contract exceptionally large athletes to play tackle football for payment.
45. Benefica (Football/Soccer, Portugal). Their Estádio da Luz seats 65,000 and net worth E160.56.
46. Los Angeles Lakers. Very quickly (over two week period), the San Antonio Spurs are seemingly irrelevant and the Lakers on back on the radar screen. But are the Lakers with Lebron James really that good? We have serious doubts. This iconic club should be on in this elite group for both historical and economic reasons, but the good teamwork that would take them to the playoffs and the very special team chemistry that would make them serious contenders to the Golden State Warriors are still to be seen. We know that Lebron knows a lot about teamwork, but we are not convinced he has mastered ali the most subtle things about team chemistry. Given all this, we are not entertaining a move of the Lakers above #46 before December.
48. Borussia Dortmund. (Football/Soccer, German Bundesliga). These people are serious about their football. A small market team in USA, with one of the most interesting players in Europe (for Americans): Christian Pulisic, the most accomplished U.S. citizen at this particular style of playing football. Unlike small market teams in U.S., however, this club draws an average of 81,000 fans per game, making it number one in world in average attendance. Net worth:$ 315 million dollars. Social media: 21 million.
49. Pittsburgh Pirates (Major League Baseball, USA). Surprisingly good start in 2018 season for a young team.
50. Chicago Bulls. Has the largest sports arena in NBA and usually fills it up. Owner old-time sports owner in Chicago who got wealthy doing real estate taxes and real estate investments. Net worth: 2.3 billions.
51. PSV Eindhoven (Football/Soccer, Netherlands).
52. FC Porto (Football/Soccer, Portugal).
53. Hurricanes, New Zealand (Rugby, New Zealand). Current Super Rugby champion, southern Hemisphere. And better at rugby than anybody in northern Hemisphere. These guys closer in human dimensions to American tackle football than the Italians playing kickball, but no one makes claims that New Zealand competes with San Francisco in peace and love.
54. Chicago Cubs (Major League Baseball, USA). Have been playing in the same stadium since early 20th century. No one cares that the players have to calculate the factor of Ivy plants growing on the walls where small and hard balls bounce off the brick walls. Good record in April-May of 2018 season, but probably will not be on this list next round if play does not improve. Included as #55 because quality of the players suggests strong second half of this 2018 season than the first half.
55. Ajax (Football/Soccer, Netherlands). Innovators in their day.
56. Lazio (Football/Soccer, Italy).
57. Leinster (Rugby, Ireland). Founded 1879, stadium of 51,000. Best professional rugby team in northern hemisphere. Net worth: probably less than the Yomiuru Giants and Hanshin Tigers (approximately $1 billion each) in Nippon League in Japan, but no one has reliable hard figures on these clubs.
58. Crusaders (Rugby, New Zealand). Best professional team in history of Super Rugby. If you have not seen this team play, you have not seen the best in sports. In first place in the Super Rugby standings, or table, once again in 2018. Just signed a new contract with their star, Whetu Douglas. In June 2018 moved from our #59 to #58.
59. Lions (Rugby, South Africa). This professional rugby team in second place in Super Rugby standings in June 2018, behind Crusaders from New Zealand.
60. New York Mets (Major League Baseball, USA) They are opening in April-May of 2018 with a winning record far above our expectations, among the best in Major League Baseball. But in Mid-May, things have gone sour. Net worth: $2 billion dollars.
61. AC Milan (Football/Soccer, Italy). Social media: 33 million.
62. Leicester (Football/Soccer, Premier League, England). The classic overachievers, these are the Kansas City Royals of the Premier League. Social media: 9 million.
63. Palmeiras (Brazilian football/soccer). This is the best team in Brazil today. Net worth: 480 million (more than any MLS club in U.S. and more than some small market clubs in USA and Europe).
64. Corinthians (Brazilian football/soccer). European style kickball and similar financing too. Along with Palmeiras, thlis club better fiananced than any football/soccer club in Major League Soccer in U.S. Their player Jadson negotiating new contract and one of their other players stars starting for the Brazilian national team vs Costa Rica June 22, Copa do Mundo.
On the Bubble: Watford Fooitball Club: a traditoinal club (founded 1881), usually not that good, of British Premiere League, but stdarting out stdrong (3-0) in 2018. Schalke (Football/Soccer): social media, 3.7 million followers; Inter Milan (football, Italy F.C. Internazionale Milano): HYoung Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez is a stud. Social media: 8.6 million followers; Montreal Canadiens (Ice Hockey, NHL, Canada) Net worth: $1.9 billion, second in world ice hockey. In April 2918 Tampa Bay seems to be the on-ice model; and this club is the business model for professional ice hockey teams.; San Francisco Giants (Major League Baseball, USA). Among the oldest teams on this list, along with the other oldest teams from the Premier League and Major League Baseball. Established in 1883 in New York as the Gothams, later changed to Giants, and moved to California in 1958. This is the UC-Berkeley of U.S. baseball, with a brainy manager like the ones who usually are located in Fenway Park. They earn a slot as number 64 based primarily on brand value and history, less on current performance on baseball field. Quality of play below their norm in recent years for April-May 2018. If things get worse, this team is soon to be Net Worth: $2.8 Billion; Boston Bruins (Ice Hockey).
Shaktar Done (Football/ Soccer), Leverkusen (Football/Soccer), Lyon (Football/Soccer); Boca Juniors (Football/Soccer, Argentina); Grêmio (Football/Soccer, Brazil), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Minnesota (NHL), Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), Columbus (NHL), New Jersey (NHL) New York Rangers (NHL), Chicago Black Hawks, (NHL); LA Galaxy/Los Angeles Football Club (they have some of the money and players need to get into our rankings….but not quite yet). Las Aguilas de la América (Mexico); Nacional (Medellín, Colombia ,Socce/ Footbal); New Jersey Nets (NBA, losing a lot of money, 16 million last year, but Russian owner so wealthy and quirky, he might not care; we think he is connected to international sports mafia; we do know he was not mafioso enough to beat Putin in elections, so probably no worse than the leadership at the University of Miami); Dallas Mavericks (NBA, USA; the owner Mark Cuban is worth 2.5 billion himself); Denver Nuggets (NBA, USA; owner into real estate and Walmarts); Detroit Pistons (NBA, USA, owner is immigrant from Israel who made his millions in equity, now worth $2.5 billion himself) ; Memphis Grizzlies (NBA, USA, the owner is a very smart geek who is one of the youngest billionaires in the world, so we are keeping an eye on the Grizzlies); Portland Trail Blazers (NBA, USA, owned by Paul Allen, of Microsoft fame, this is the wealthiest club in the NBA); Winnepeg Jets (Ice Hockey, NHL, USA). Played in semi-finals of National Hockehy League (USA) playoffs 2018. Net worth: $340 million; New York Mets (Major League Baseball, USA) They are opening in April-May of 2018 with a winning record far above our expectations, among the best in Major League Baseball. But in Mid-May, things have gone sour. Net worth: $2 billion dollars; New York Knicks (Basketball, NBA, USA) Net worth: $3.3 billion. Competed better in marketing than on the court in 2018. One of the best brands in sports, despite current weakness on court; Nashville Predators (Ice Hockey, NHL, USA).Net worth: $48 million. Were in semi-finals of NHL playoff; West Ham (football/soccer, Premier League): social media: 3.3 million followers; Zenit St. Petersburg (football/soccer) has surprising social media numbers: 2.1 million followers. Newcomer to our Bubble teams: Toronto Raptors now have Kawai Leonard, worth keeping an eye on this team.