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Without salary cap and revenue sharing, Dallas would pound the Packers, rest of NFL
Forbes ranks value of NFL teams and home much revenue they make. Richard Ryman/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY – Packers fans dispute Dallas calling itself America's Team, but in one sense it is. According to Forbes' annual valuation of NFL franchises, Dallas topped the league (and the world for that matter) as the most valuable team for the 11th consecutive year.
And it's not close. Not even close to close. Dallas, by Forbes' calculation, is worth $4.8 billion. New England is second at $3.7 billion and the Packers are 13th at $2.55 billion.
The Packers never comment on the Forbes valuations, other than to say what a team is worth is what someone will pay for it and the Packers aren't for sale.
More illuminating than the values is Forbes' estimation of each team's revenue.
Some raised eyebrows when the Packers reported $441.4 million in revenue for the past year (Forbes used $421 million in its ranking), but Dallas raked in $840 million. New England was a distant second at $575 million.
If you've ever wondered why the Packers stress the importance of the salary cap and revenue sharing, look at those numbers again: $840 million for Dallas and $421 for Green Bay.
Without the salary cap, Jerry Jones would, quite literally, own the NFL. Without revenue sharing, teams such as Oakland (last in revenue), would have an even tougher time competing, as would the Packers.
When the Packers and Cowboys square off Sunday in Dallas, it will be on equal terms. It's not easy to balance a competitive roster under the salary cap, but the Packers can afford Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson because they are operating under the same constraints as Jerry Jones.
Forbes said team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt), based on historical transactions and offers currently on the table. Revenue and operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) are for the 2016 season, net of stadium debt service.
The Packers were ninth in revenue and 15th in operating income, which means the organization is doing a good job of maximizing its opportunities in the smallest market in major professional sports.
It puts into context the team's development of the Titletown District as an additional source of income — and it's willingness to forgo money-making opportunities on 10 acres of that development to provide a community park.
The Forbes article makes clear that even with its myriad problems — anthem protests, domestic violence issues, falling TV ratings — the NFL remains a financial juggernaut. How much so, you ask? Forbes said the league's $3.2 billion in league-wide income is $500 million more than the combined earnings of teams in the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.
National TV contracts, of course, are a big part of the NFL's success. The Packers — the only team required to reveal financial details because it is publicly owned — reported national income of $244 million last year, most of which was from television contracts. League-wide, media deals accounted for 57 percent of $132 billion in total revenue, Forbes calculated.
Forbes said new and renovated stadiums also are pumping up team incomes. The Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins have new or renovated stadiums, and the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders will have them.
The Packers have done their own renovations at Lambeau Field, including adding 7,000 seats, new digital video boards, a larger Pro Shop, improved player facilities and the Johnsonville Tailgate Village.
All part of keeping up with the Jones.
Most valuable NFL teams
1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion. Last year: No.1
2. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion. Last year: No. 2
3. New York Giants, $3.3 billion. Last year: No. 3
4. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion. Last year: No. 5
5. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion. Last year: No. 4
13. Green Bay Packers, $2.55 billion. Last year: No. 13
NFL team revenue
1. Dallas Cowboys, $840 million
2. New England Patriots, $575 million
3. Washington Redskins, $482 million
4. New York Giants, $477 million
5. San Francisco 49ers, $458 million
9. Green Bay Packers, $421 million