Packers worth $1.9 billion, Forbes says
The Packers occupy the smallest market in professional football, but rank 10th in the 32-team league in value. The Dallas Cowboys ranked No. 1 for the ninth consecutive year, with a value of $4 billion. The Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world, Forbes said, despite not having been to a Super Bowl in 20 years.
The New England Patriots were second in the NFL with a value of $3.2 billion. Last year, the Cowboys were worth $3.2 billion, and the Packers ranked 13th at $1.375 billion.
Forbes reporter Mike Ozanian wrote that the average value of NFL teams is $1.97 billion, 38 percent more than the previous year. He attributed the NFL's continued financial escalation to income-producing stadiums, television contracts and the NFL's ability to monetize, well, just about everything.
The Packers don't comment on the rankings. It is said the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it, which will not happen for the community-owned Packers. But other small-market teams were sold recently, including the Buffalo Bills for $1.4 billion and the Jacksonville Jaguars for $770 million.
If you wonder if stadiums matter, Forbes reported the San Francisco 49ers had a 69 percent increase in value after moving from Candlestick Park to Levi's Stadium, where stadium-derived revenue jumped 160 percent. Ozanian credits owner Jerry Jones' shrewd marketing and "a gold mine called AT&T Stadium" for the Cowboys' off-field success.
The Packers can't catch up with the Joneses, but they've done pretty well. They have the second-largest stadium in the league, with an official capacity of 81,435. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is the largest at 82,566, and is shared by the New York Giants and Jets. The team added 7,000 seats two years ago and by the time they finish remodeling private suites in 2017, the Packers will have spent $367 million over six years upgrading Lambeau Field.
Even Jones might have trouble keeping up with a possible new stadium in Los Angeles, which could be home to more than one team.
"The league is about to build a new stadium near Los Angeles, one that will be so audacious — the grandest reality console in the land — that it could make the one in Dallas seem humble," Ozanian writes.
He also mentions the Packers' plans to build the Titletown District west of Lambeau Field "to capitalize on their fanatical fan base." Titletown District will be a 34-acre, mixed use development with commercial, entertainment and residential elements. Three anchors have been announced, including Lodge Kohler hotel, Hinterland Brewery and a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic. The anchors are expected to be operational before the 2017 season. It also will include a nearly 10-acre public plaza.
Among the Packers' rivals in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears ranked eighth in value at $2.45 billion, the Minnesota Vikings 18th at $1.59 billion and the Detroit Lions 30th at $1.44 billion.
The Packers reported $324 million in revenue for 2014. Because they are shareholder-owned, the Packers are the only team in the NFL to release financial information. Forbes determined estimated finances of other teams based on a variety of public and private sources. It estimated Dallas revenue at $620 million. Among the Packers' rivals in the NFC North, Forbes put Chicago at $352 million, Minnesota at $281 million and Detroit at $298 million.
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