As of 2020, the most valuable professional sports team in the world was the Dallas Cowboys, with a market value of $5.5 billion. The list of the top 10 sports teams with the highest market value in 2020 is based on the Forbes annual ranking of the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Formula 1, soccer, and Nascar teams.
The 2020 list is dominated by football, soccer, and basketball teams. Only one MLB team is in the top 10. No NHL, Formula 1, or Nascar teams made this list.
1. How 'Bout Those—Dallas Cowboys
With a market value of $5.5 billion, the world's most valuable sports team in 2020 was the Dallas Cowboys. Although the team has not won an NFL championship in more than two decades, it is the most valuable team in sports, largely due to its $1.2 billion home stadium, constructed in 2009.
In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys sold the naming rights of the stadium to AT&T Inc. for an estimated $400 million to $600 million. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who purchased the team in 1989 for $150 million, is worth an estimated $8.5 billion.
2. Déjà Vu—New York Yankees
As of 2020 and for the fifth consecutive year, the New York Yankees was the only Major League Baseball team featured in the top 10 most valuable sports teams. With an estimated value of $5 billion, the Yankees held onto the No. 2 spot in the rankings for the second year in a row. The team's most recent championship was in 2009 and has 27 World Series—more than any other MLB team.
3. Hooping It Up—New York Knicks
As of 2020 and for the third year in a row, the National Basketball Association's most valuable team was the New York Knicks. The team's estimated value was $4.6 billion, up 15% from 2019. The Knicks took the title of most valuable NBA franchise from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, largely due to a 20-year media rights deal that was worth nearly $100 million in the first year.
The Knicks' lofty valuation takes into account the team's access to its own television network and landmark arena, by virtue of being a part of the public-owned Madison Square Garden Co. enterprise.
4. It's Showtime—Los Angeles Lakers
The second most valuable team in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2020 the organization was worth an estimated $4.4 billion, up 19% from 2019. In 2012, the Lakers began a 20-year, $4 billion local television deal with Time Warner.
The team has won a staggering 17 championships with the help of household names like Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 2018, famed superstar Lebron James joined the team and led the Lakers to its 17th title by winning the 2019-2020 championship. The Lakers are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles in history.
5. Everything is Golden—Golden State Warriors
Another NBA team making the list is the Golden State Warriors. The team, where the highest-paid player in the NBA calls home—Stephen Curry, increased its market value from $3.5 billion in 2019 to $4.3 billion. The team has won three NBA championships from 2015 to 2018. The team played its 2019 season at its newly opened $1.5 billion stadium, called the Chase Center.
6. Hala Madrid—Real Madrid
Real Madrid's market value held steady in 2020 at $4.24 billion versus 2019, which means it remained the most valuable soccer team. The Spanish soccer team won the 2018 FIFA World Cup and is led by soccer's highest-paid athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo.
7. The New England Patriots
The team with the second-highest market value in the National Football League is the New England Patriots. As of 2020, its market value was estimated at $4.1 billion up from $3.8 billion in 2019 or 8%.
The Patriot's loyal fan base allows for unique revenue opportunities for the franchise. The team is tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (six) by an NFL franchise. The Patriots have won the Super Bowl three times in the last six years—2015, 2017, and 2019. However, superstar quarterback Tom Brady left the Patriots in 2020 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading his new team to a Super Bowl title.
Revenue opportunities remain for the franchise. For example, in 2015, the Patriots unveiled the Optum Field Lounge at the south end zone of Gillette Stadium. This members-only club carries an annual fee of $1,500, mandates that a minimum of two memberships be purchased at a time, and does not include the cost of season tickets.
8. Barça, Barça—FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona's market value of $4.02 billion in 2020 was unchanged from 2019 but remains the second most valuable soccer team. Led by Lionel Messi, the world's second-highest-paid soccer player, FC Barcelona signed a kit deal with Nike Inc. that is estimated to be worth around $175 million per year and will run through the 2027-2028 season. In addition, the team is slated for a $650 million stadium renovation in which additional ticket revenue is anticipated.
9. The G-Men—New York Giants
Another NFC East football team, along with the Dallas Cowboys, ranked as one of the most valuable sports teams in 2020. The New York Giants, the third most valuable NFL team, has an estimated value of $3.9 billion in 2020—up 18% from $3.3 billion in 2019.The Giants have won four Super Bowls in five appearances.
10. Manchester United
Manchester United PLC is the only publicly-traded sports team on the list. In 2020, the team had a market value of $3.81 billion, which was the same as in 2019. Manchester United PLC is the third most valuable soccer franchise in the world behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Manchester United is a master at generating commercial income. For example, it entered a decade-long kit manufacturer/sponsorship deal worth almost $1 billion with Adidas, beginning in the 2015-2016 season.