The global sports market is a colossus, with revenues exceeding US$485 billion worldwide last year and expected to keep on growing toward US$620 billion over the next four years. 

Within this market, several teams, clubs, and franchises have eclipsed the US$1 billion valuation mark, and many have kicked on to be valued as multi-billion entities. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the value of a sports team isn’t necessarily tied to the global popularity of its sport or the team itself, as the figures in the most recent valuation rankings from Forbes and Sportico detail. 

Here, we’re looking at the most valuable sports teams in the world and will have a closer look at the most valuable from each of the most popular sports in the world. 

Which is the Most Valuable Sports Team in the World?

Showcasing the might of the US sports consumer market on its own, the Dallas Cowboys are priced as the most valuable sports team in the world. 

The 2022 report from Forbes puts them at US$8 billion, while the 2023 valuation from Sportico ups that valuation to a massive US$9.2 billion. 

In 2016, when the Cowboys made it to the playoffs for the second time in three years following a three-year absence, the NFL team took the top spot in the valuation rankings and look poised to kick on this season.

Coming into the 2023 campaign, the Cowboys have committed to Tony Pollard as their featured back, brought in Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore via trades, and Mazi Smith bolsters the defensive line out of the draft.

Overall, it was a solid, if not particularly spectacular, offseason from a team that’ll be looking to contend in a heated division with dark horse aspirations of winning the title. 

Losing in the divisional playoffs last season, the Cowboys are narrowly behind the -120 Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East at +180 and are the sixth favourites to land the Super Bowl at +1400 on NFL lines

Top 20 Most Valuable Sports Teams in the World:

Looking at the average valuation found by Forbes at the end of 2022 and Sportico’s more recent 2023 findings, these are the top 20 most valuable sports teams in the world right now:

  1. Dallas Cowboys (US$8.6 billion)

  2. Golden State Warriors (US$6.58 billion)

  3. Los Angeles Rams (US$6.57 billion)

  4. New York Yankees (US$6.565 billion)

  5. New England Patriots (US$6.55 billion)

  6. New York Giants (US$6.52 billion)

  7. New York Knicks (US$6.19 billion)

  8. Los Angeles Lakers (US$5.97 billion)

  9. Chicago Bears (US$5.9 billion)

  10. Washington Commanders (US$5.825 billion)

  11. New York Jets (US$5.755 billion)

  12. San Francisco 49ers (US$5.675 billion)

  13. Las Vegas Raiders (US$5.435 billion)

  14. Philadelphia Eagles (US$5.425 billion)

  15. Manchester United (US$5.275 billion)

  16. Real Madrid (US$5.165 billion)

  17. Houston Texans (US$5.05 billion)

  18. Barcelona (US$4.975 billion)

  19. Miami Dolphins (US$4.92 billion)

  20. Denver Broncos (US$4.76 billion)

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys are not only the most valuable NFL team, but by far the highest-valued sports team in the world today.

Most Valuable Soccer Team in the World

The most valuable soccer team in the world right now is Manchester United of the English Premier League. The storied club founded in 1878 boasts a colossal and truly global fan base, but the valuation may be deceptive. 

Forbes’ valuation of US$4.6 billion at the end of 2022 has shot up to US$5.95 billion on Sportico’s 2023 rankings, perhaps owing to the owners, the Glazer family (who also run the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), entertaining potential buyers. 

This buoyed the share price on the New York Stock Exchange, with it sitting at around US$23.13 at the time of writing – down from the US$24.81 recent peak (June 15) when talks with Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim for a $6 billion sale were widely reported. 

However, as Manchester United was purchased by the Glazers via a leveraged buyout – with all £525 million in 2005 (around US$930 million at the time) loaned from JP Morgan – and the owners have only increased that debt since by keeping profits and paying the minimum back, the club still faces nearly US$1 billion in gross debt.

As such, were a $US6 billion purchase to come to fruition, the buyer would know that it’s more like a US$7 billion deal to clear the club of its Glazer-ridden debt. 

Does this impact the valuations from the likes of Sportico and Forbes? Probably not, as Barcelona cracks the top 20 most valuable teams as an average between the two and is in €1.35 billion (US$1.47 billion) of reported debt with a recent €1.5 billion (US$1.63 billion) loan taken out on top. 

Where the NFL – an almost entirely US-supported sport – benefits here over the likes of Manchester United, despite the soccer club’s much larger fan base, is by being so insular with a high level of control over finances. 

While reined in a bit lately, soccer leagues are almost a capitalist Wild West, where performance greatly impacts an individual team’s revenues and just about anyone with the cash can buy a club and do as they see fit. 

In the NFL and the other major leagues of North America, the league makes money and teams can guarantee revenues by being under its banner. This was the inspiration for the much-maligned European Super League attempt spurred on by JP Morgan.

It quells competition but can greatly increase profits for losing teams – as shown by the Washington Commanders recently selling for a massive US$6.05 billion.

Most Valuable Baseball Team in the World

The most valuable baseball team in the world is, by far, the most successful team in the history of the big-money MLB: the New York Yankees. 

While baseball has a larger reach than football, being beloved in Central America and Japan, the New York Yankees are a global brand.

Even in countries where baseball simply doesn’t have a footprint, you’ll still see their logo on baseball caps and bomber jackets in and around major cities.

Beyond the Americas and Japan, the Yankees are baseball, which has greatly helped them to reach the heavy-hitting combined average valuation of US$6.565 billion here. Of course, their storied success on the field has also helped a great deal. 

This season, the Pinstripes might not even make it to the playoffs, though, with a torrid summer run putting the Yankees out to +25000 just to win the AL East in the futures markets of sport betting

Most Valuable Basketball Team in the World

While the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are right up there among the most valuable sports team in the world, right now, it looks to be the Golden State Warriors and their US$6.58 billion valuation that stands on top.

Founded in 1946, much of this valuation has to be down to the modern and sustained success of the team spurred on by future Hall of Famers like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

With three NBA Championships from 1947, 1956, and 1975 already, the Warriors added four more in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2022, securing one of the most feared basketball dynasties the NBA has ever seen. 

Once again for the upcoming season, few are counting out the Warriors. Only behind the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, and Miami Heat, the Warriors are at +900 to win it all again.

Most Valuable Hockey Team in the World

Forbes’ findings put the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs as the joint-most valuable hockey teams in the world, but Sportico’s more recent valuations give the Buds a $0.11 billion edge.

As such, the Toronto Maple Leafs are deemed to be the most valuable hockey team in the world for this piece, clocking in at US$2.06 billion to the US$2.005 billion of the Rangers.

These valuations could be seen as being held back by the league that the teams belong to, particularly because the NHL’s international efforts – despite it being a very international sport – being particularly weak. 

There have been season-opening games on the European continent, but the big-money, sports-mad UK is completely overlooked while the NBA and NFL cash in. 

The EIHL (top domestic hockey league) matches and even exceeds the attendances of the British Basketball League, yet the NHL hasn’t followed the NBA over. Even the MLB sells out in London, and baseball simply doesn’t exist in Great Britain.

Back home, the Maple Leafs are perfectly situated as the biggest team in Canada’s largest city and are on the up, vying for the nation’s first Stanley Cup since 1993. 

While it may be somewhat hopeful, given the expected bounce back from the Colorado Avalanche after an injury-plagued season, the Buds are the narrow favourites to win the Stanley Cup next season at +800. 

Most Valuable Cricket Team in the World

Cricket may not have much of a following in North America, but on the world stage, it’s second only to soccer as the most popular sport. 

Revenues are on the rise across domestic cricket, but the international scene always takes precedence and draws the sport’s best players away from franchise or league teams. One of the few exceptions to this is the IPL.

The Indian Premier League has become a money-making goliath. The short-form cricket competition features a closed league with franchises akin to major league sports, stacking cash by luring in the best players in the world to the second most populated country on the planet.

As it stands, the Mumbai Indians are graded as the most valuable at $1.3 billion, per Forbes. While it may seem quaint on this list, that valuation showcases the rapid growth of the team and league only founded in 2008. 

The Dallas Cowboys benefit greatly from the avid local market and insulated nature of the NFL, allowing them to grade as the outright most valuable sports team in the world right now.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to AP Photo*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.