The NFL has become one of the preeminent global brands. It now generates more revenue than any other professional sports league worldwide, surpassing $13 billion in 2015.
In Forbes' annual list of the most valuable teams, each of the NFL's 32 organizations is valued above $1 billion, led by the Dallas Cowboys at $4 billion. The average value of each team jumped by 38% from the previous year. All that despite ongoing player image issues, over-inflated suspensions and continually rising ticket prices.
But how do these values compare to VC valuations? We decided to check it out. Here are the 15 highest-valued NFL franchises and the companies that equal the same valuation.
More than $9B of venture capital was invested in the New England region during 2015, and more than $4B has been invested each year since 2011. Boston and Cambridge, MA are healthcare technology hubs, with over half ($5B) of the total funding in New England going to those metro areas alone last year, 60% of which was invested in healthcare startups.
|Not only do they share a stadium with the New York Giants—in New Jersey—but they also share a name with a NJ-based, billion-dollar company—almost. Jet.com is an ecommerce startup founded by entrepreneur Marc Lore. The company was only launched last year, but has already raised more than $550M in VC funding, grabbing a valuation of $1.4B as it works to disrupt the ecommerce model.|
|The Texans are one of the newer franchises in the league, being formed after the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee. Known more for its energy and shipping markets, no more than $280M has been invested in Houston during a single year since 2007. Investment activity has seen a recent surge, however, topping out at 114 deals completed in 2015—after just 33 deals completed in 2007.|
|Chicago is known as the home of the Bears, but it is also home to Groupon, the once proud daily deals site that completed its IPO at a valuation of $12.8B. Groupon now has a market cap of $2.7B after a recent surge in the stock market, but you can still buy a piece of the company ($4.61 on the NASDAQ) for less than a coupon for two slices of pizza and two fountain drinks on its site ($7). More than $1B of VC has been invested in Chicago during each of the past two years, however, and the area has several prominent investors, including ARCH Venture Partners and Baird Capital.|
|"Fly, Eagles, Fly," goes the team's fight song. There isn’t as much fight in the Philadelphia VC industry, unfortunately. Just 250 startups have received venture capital since 2005 and none of those companies has received a private valuation over $172M, not even close to challenging the $2.4B value of the Eagles. To be completely fair, the total number of startups funded in the timeframe jumps to 743 when considering the entire Philadelphia metro area.|
|The Packers are the only NFL team to sell shares of ownership publicly, and they have been doing so intermittently since 1923 (shares can only be purchased/sold during certain offering periods), with proceeds generally going toward upgrades of the team's stadium. As for venture capital in the city? Frozen Codebase is the only VC-backed company headquartered in Green Bay, though it's now out of business.|
The current champions are located in an area of budding venture capital. With almost linear growth in deal count over the past six years, Colorado tipped the scales at $1.2B in deal value last year. The state also had two VC-backed companies acquired in 2015 for a combined value of more than $2 billion—Datalogix ($1.2B) and SolidFire ($870M).
|The Colts Luck'ed out in the 2012 draft with the first overall pick, finding a replacement for Peyton Manning, but they have yet to regain the dominance they felt during his era. The franchise was originally based in Baltimore, before moving to Indianapolis in 1984. The Colts' value is roughly the same as Human Longevity ($1.89B), a genomics and cell therapy-based treatment provider.|
The Seahawks have seen their value skyrocket in recent years, jumping 41% from the year before. There's been similar growth in the median valuation of VC-backed companies in the Pacific Northwest. In 2016, the median value of startups in the region raising funding has hit $30M, up nearly $8M from the final median of 2015.
|* The Eagles' championships were won before the NFL/AFL Merger in 1966|
|** Prior to 1996, the Baltimore Ravens were the Cleveland Browns|
|*** Prior to 1984, the Indianapolis Colts were the Baltimore Colts|