If you follow the National Football League (NFL), then you may know a lot about the team that takes the top spot as the most valuable franchise in the league. The Dallas Cowboys were the most valuable team in the NFL in 2020, according to Forbes. The Cowboys have had the most valuable franchise for 14 straight years, reaching $5.7 billion in 2020, up 4% from 2019.

The NFL remains the most valuable sports league in the world. The average NFL team makes more than any other sports team. In 2020, the average NFL franchise value topped $3 billion for the first time. Four teams are worth at least $4 billion: the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, and the Los Angeles Rams. On average, NFL teams generated $477 million in revenue and $109 million of operating income per team.

Key Takeaways

  • The Dallas Cowboys have had the most valuable franchise for 14 years in a row.
  • In 2020, the average team value reached $3 billion for the first time.
  • Each of the 10 most valuable teams in 2020 also placed in the top 10 in 2019.

Top 10 Most Valuable NFL Teams

The NFL franchise value takes into account the team’s revenues, stadium value (ex-real estate and only including income from concerts and such if it benefits the owner), and offers to buy or invest in the team. Part of the valuation uses historical transactions to calculate an appropriate multiple that is then placed on revenues.

10 Most Valuable NFL Teams in 2020
Rank Team Owner 2020 Value ($ in billions) 2019 Value ($ in billions) Change in Value
1 Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones $5.7 $5.5 4%
2 New England Patriots Robert Kraft  $4.4 $4.1 7%
3 New York Giants  John Mara, Steven Tisch $4.3 $3.9 10%
4 Los Angeles Rams Stanley Kroenke $4 $3.8 5%
5 San Francisco 49ers Denise DeBartolo York, John York $3.8 $3.5 9%
6 New York Jets Johnson family $3.55 $3.2 11%
7 Chicago Bears McCaskey family $3.525 $3.45 2%
8 Washington Football Team Daniel Snyder $3.5 $3.4 3%
9 Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie $3.4 $3.1 11%
10 Houston Texans Janice McNair $3.3 $3.05 6%

The following is a more detailed breakdown of the 10 most valuable teams.

1. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys franchise is valued at $5.7 billion. The team, owned by Jerry Jones—which he purchased for $140 million in 1989—is valued at $1.3 billion more than the number two team. The team’s 2020 revenue was $980 million, a 4% increase from 2019, and its operating income was $425 million.

The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, with the last—Super Bowl XXX—in 1996. Established in 1960, the team has been to eight Super Bowls and appeared in the playoffs 33 times.

The NFL keeps a tight rein on who can and can’t own a team, with strict guidelines and a vetting process. Also, the rules for using debt when purchasing a franchise are stringent, and no corporate ownership is allowed in the NFL.

2. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots, Super Bowl LIII (2019) champions, saw their 2019 value increase by 7% to $4.4 billion. The Patriots have appeared in 11 Super Bowls and won six of them. The team was established in 1959, and current owner Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994 for $172 million, which was the highest ever paid for an NFL team at the time.

3. New York Giants

The New York Football Giants, as they’re known, also go by the nicknames “Big Blue” and “G-Men” and are worth $4.3 billion—an increase of 10% from the previous year. The team was established in 1925 by Tim Mara with $500. Today, the team is half-owned by Tim’s grandson, John Mara. The team has won four Super Bowls, the last one being XLVI in 2012.

4. Los Angeles Rams

The valuation of the Los Angeles Rams rose 5% to $4 billion. Owner Stanley Kroenke purchased 40% of the team in 1995 and then exercised his right to buy it outright in 2010.

The Rams started out in Cleveland in 1937, moving to L.A. in 1946, then moving to St. Louis in 1995, where they stayed for 20 years. The Rams returned to L.A. for the 2016 season. The last Super Bowl won by the team was XXXIV in 2000.

5. San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers saw a 9% increase in their team value, which stands at $3.8 billion. The team has won five Super Bowls, the latest being XXIX in 1995. The team is owned by members of the York family, who gained control of the team from Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. The father of Denise DeBartolo York and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., purchased the team in 1977.

6. New York Jets

After an 11% increase in 2020, the New York Jets have a value of $3.55 billion. The team shares its stadium—MetLife Stadium in New Jersey—with the New York Giants. Woody Johnson bought the team in 2000 for $635 million and co-owns it with his brother, Christopher Johnson. The Jets, established in 1959, won its only Super Bowl appearance: III, in 1969.

7. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears saw a 2% increase in value to $3.525 billion. Virginia Halas McCaskey owns the Bears and, at 98 years old, is the oldest owner in the NFL. She inherited the team from her father, who founded the Bears in 1920. The team has won only one Super Bowl, XX in 1986, but has the most wins of any NFL franchise. 

8. Washington Football Team 

The value of the Washington Football Team, previously called the Redskins, increased by 3% from 2019 and stands at $3.5 billion. Established in 1932, the team started out in Boston and has won three Super Bowls, the last one being XXVI in 1992. Daniel Snyder is the majority owner with a 65% stake. In 1999, he paid $800 million for the team and its stadium, making it the most expensive sporting team transaction in history at the time.

Washington changed its name and removed its logo in the summer of 2020 in response to mounting economic and social pressure to address the racially insensitive moniker. It is currently in a trademark fight that must be resolved before the team can announce a new permanent name; the current one is in the running.

9. Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles’ $3.4 billion value was an 11% increase from 2019. Jeffrey Lurie bought the team for $185 million in 1994. The team, established in 1933, replaced the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets. The Eagles won Super Bowl LII in 2018, and the team is known to have some of the most intimidating fans in the league.

10. Houston Texans

The value of the Houston Texans increased 6% year-over-year to $3.3 billion. The team, established in 1999, played its first season in 2002. It’s the only team to never appear in a conference championship despite six playoff appearances. Janice McNair inherited 80% ownership of the Texans after her husband and team founder, Bob McNair, died in 2018.