Every year, Forbes releases a list of the most valuable sports franchises around the world, and every year the NFL dominates the list. This year, 27 of the top 50 franchises are from the NFL, with the Dallas Cowboys on top. The San Francisco 49ers show up at No. 10, which is a sizable climb from a year ago. Forbes estimated the team’s value climbed 69 percent from 2015, from $1.6 billion to $2.7 billion. That saw them climb from No. 22 to No. 10 among all sports franchises. They are also fifth among NFL franchises, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Washington, and the New York Giants.
The Forbes lists are fun for discussion, but the actual numerical value is pretty questionable. Aside from the Green Bay Packers, NFL teams generally do not open the books for anybody. Teams with publicly owned stadiums (including the 49ers) offer some information, but it hides the vast majority of it. Forbes has their sources, and likely has a good idea on a lot of stuff, but the numbers are still something to be taken with a grain of salt. The value is actually what someone is willing to pay for a team, and I have a hunch some of the numbers would be higher than those listed by Forbes.
Whatever the case, we know the 49ers franchise was only going to go up in value once the new stadium was built. I don’t know what exactly changed from a year ago that would justify such a significant increase in the organization’s financial value, but one possibility is Forbes got access to more information. The team has sold plenty of tickets and sponsorships, but with so many happening before the stadium opened, I would have thought that would be reflected better. Or maybe the success of previously booked events leads to a boost in value. Maybe the assessor just felt better about it and decided to boost the value. Who really knows. All we know is the Yorks are doing very well from a financial perspective.