Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Forbes: Redskins in Top 5 in Sports Franchise Value

By Grant Paulsen
|  Friday, Jul 23, 2010  |  Updated 8:21 AM EDT
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Forbes: Redskins in Top 5 in Sports Franchise Value

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Winning seasons have been a rarity for the Redskins lately, but that hasn’t kept the team’s value from sky-rocketing.

In fact, (please read this in your best "Brad Pitt from Inglorious Bastards" voice), business is booming for the Redskins.

Forbes just released its 2010 list of the “50 Most Valuable Sports Teams” and the Redskins placed No. 4 on the list.

Washington’s $1.55 billion value was surpassed only by Manchester United ($1.83 billion), the Dallas Cowboys ($1.65) and the New York Yankees ($1.6).  Quite impressive company.

Manchester United claims to have 333 million followers (and 139 million core fans) worldwide. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they rake in more money than any other professional sports organization.

Soccer’s more global than American football, and there’s not a more revered soccer club than Manchester, whose $459 million in generated revenue also reigns supreme.

The new stadium the Cowboys opened last season that has already hosted an NBA All-Star Game and will soon be the site of the NCAA Final Four and a Super Bowl. Possessing the NFL’s premiere stadium adds value.

The Yankees ranking third is a no-brainer. They captured their MLB-leading 27th world championship last October, and the team’s ravenous fan base travels like an airline stewardess.

But the Redskins ranking fourth?

They aren’t a global phenomenon. They don’t have a new, immaculate stadium. And they aren’t coming off a championship season.

In fact, the Skins have made the playoffs just three times in 17 years. In that time the team’s posted a disappointing 116-155 record and won all of two playoff games.

Yet the Redskins’ keep raking in the money.

Avid fans continue filing into FedEx Field, ensuring weekly sellouts at the NFL’s largest outdoor venue. And the high-priced talent the team acquires each offseason guarantees steady jersey and memorabilia purchases.

According to Forbes’ report, no NFL team has averaged a higher annual operating income than Washington’s $77 million over the past five seasons.

The team’s worth, and popularity, is a tribute to the business savvy of owner Daniel Snyder. It’s also a credit to the zeal of the team’s rabid, and hungry, fans.

It’s hard not to wonder what would happen to the team’s worth if the Redskins did make a deep playoff run, though.

If a down decade-and-a-half bumps you into the top four among all the sports franchises in the world, how much higher could the Redskins climb if the team won its fourth Super Bowl?

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