If you’re wondering just how pandemic-resistant the world’s leading sports franchises are, look no further than Fred Wilpon’s New York Mets. The Amazin’s, the No. 2 team in Major League Baseball’s most valuable market, were put in play by Wilpon in February after nearly two decades of ownership, putting them on track to be the first big-market Major League Baseball franchise to be sold in eight years.
They are hardly a crown jewel. Wilpon was reluctant to keep pace with the league’s rising payrolls, leaving the Mets without a World Series win since 1986 and bleeding cash long before the coronavirus eliminated more than half the season and all of the franchise’s stadium revenues.
That hasn’t stopped an all-star list of buyers from kicking the tires, including hedge-fund titan Steve Cohen and private-equity guru Josh Harris, one of whom will likely end up paying more than $2 billion for the franchise, one of 57 teams worth at least that amount. A decade ago, there was only one that came even close: U.K. soccer club Manchester United, which was the most valuable team on earth in 2010 at $1.83 billion.
That honor now belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, who top the Forbes ranking of the 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams for the fifth straight year, at $5.5 billion, edging out the $5 billion New York Yankees. For Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New York’s Steinbrenner family, it may as well be paper profit. Only one team in the top 35—MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, in 2012—has changed hands in the past decade, which explains how the Mets, No. 41 at $2.4 billion, became one of the hottest tickets in sports.
“There is no lack of multi-billionaires that want to get into the sports business right now,” says Sal Galatioto, whose namesake investment firm has handled team transactions for the Chicago Cubs, the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and other marquee sports properties. “People will pay a premium. They buy these teams not just on the numbers, but on the brand value.”
Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/07/31/the-worlds-most-valuable-sports-teams-2020/#1fd407a33c74
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