August 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Forbes: Lions third-least valuable NFL team at $960M

The Lions are only ahead of the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams in value, according to Forbes. (David Coates / Detroit News)

New York ó Forbes says the Lions are the third-least valuable NFL franchise in its latest estimates, released Wednesday.

The Lions are worth $960 million, Forbes estimates. Thatís an increase from last yearís $900 million valuation but not enough to stop Detroit from dropping from 28th to 30th out of 32 NFL teams.

Forbes also said the Dallas Cowboys are the first U.S. sports franchise to top $3 billion in value.

For the eighth straight year, the Cowboys are worth the most of all 32 NFL franchises, valued at $3.2 billion. Only soccer team Real Madrid at $3.4 billion is worth more among global franchises.

The average NFL franchise value for 2014 is $1.43 billion, the highest in the 17 years the business magazine has tracked professional football. That shows a 23 percent increase, the largest in one year since 1999.

New England is second in value at $2.6 billion, followed by Washington ($2.4 billion) and the New York Giants ($2.1 billion).

At the bottom are Buffalo, worth $935 million and for sale after owner and Grosse Pointe Shores businessman Ralph Wilsonís death, and St. Louis at $930 million.