The folks at Forbes put together their latest valuations of sports franchises around the world, and they valued the 49ers at $1.175 billion. That ranking is good for No. 17 overall, and ninth among NFL franchises. 30 of 32 NFL franchises fell in the world's top 50, with only the Rams and Jaguars coming in after that (No. 51 and 52 respectively). The Cowboys top NFL teams at No. 5. The top four franchises are Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona and the New York Yankees.
These valuations need to be taken with a certain grain of salt for a vast majority of the teams. Forbes figures out valuations for each team, but for a lot of these teams, much of it is likely based on certain estimations. A team like the Packers can be valued a bit more accurately because it is publicly owned, and thus financial statements are available to the public. For every other NFL team, I imagine they fight tooth and nail to keep much of that info private. Of course, if a team is up for sale, they might be more incline to leak the positive information.
Whatever the actual real value of the 49ers, it is not surprising to see them up at No. 17. Per Mike Rosenberg at the San Jose Mercury News, the 49ers were valued at $925 million in 2011 before they broke ground. Additionally, the team has seen its ranking steadily improve:
The 49ers locked up their stadium, but just as importantly this year was the sale of naming rights to Levi Strauss. The Dallas Cowboys have struggled to get naming rights for the Jerry Temple, so getting a deal done for $220 million (with a 5-year, $75 million option) is a nice little coup. The 49ers were going to be paying off their stadium whatever the naming rights deal, but that kind of money is a big help.
The 49ers do also benefit from their recent success, but on-field success impacts the valuation when it leads to success off the field. In the 49ers case, it is the combination of back-to-back playoff runs, a new stadium and a cutting edge front office that includes some of the best and brightest from Silicon Valley. A lot of teams find success on the field, and just sort of enjoy it and that's it. Jed York and the 49ers have built a strong financial foundation for the franchise that should only help build on their recent on-field success.