Detroit Lions’ value of $1.7 billion ranks next-to-last in NFL

Detroit News staff and wires
The Detroit Lions are worth $1.7 billion, according to Forbes.

The Detroit Lions are valued at $1.7 billion, according to Forbes, ranking No. 31 in the 32-team National Football League.

That $1.7 billion figure still represents a 3 percent increase in value over last year, Forbes says.

The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable franchise for the 11th straight year. Their worth increased 14 percent in the last year, reaching $4.8 billion, Forbes says. That’s more than $1 billion ahead of the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion).

Rounding out the NFL’s top five are the New York Giants ($3.3 billion), Washington ($3.1 billion) and the San Francisco 49ers ($3.05 billion).

There are a few factors working against the Lions with respect to franchise value.

The Ford Field capacity of 65,000 ranks among the lowest in the NFL, denting the Lions’ ticket revenue. Only Oakland, Chicago and Arizona have smaller stadiums.

The Lions also have a history of poor on-field performance, which can affect sponsorship opportunities. The Lions have never been to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys, by comparison, have won five Super Bowl titles.

More: Niyo: Lions’ no huddle no trouble for Stafford and Co.

On average, an NFL franchise is worth $2.52 billion, an increase of 8 percent since 2016. Much of that can be attributed to rights fees and new stadiums or stadium renovations.

The Cowboys are an income powerhouse, in part due to their massive merchandise sales, as well as  revenue streams from their new practice facility, The Star.

Every team is worth at least a billion, with the Buffalo Bills last at $1.6 billion. Forbes reported earlier this year that the average baseball franchise is worth $1.54 billion.

The Atlanta Falcons, who rank No. 15, had the highest increase in value, up 16 percent to more than $2.47 billion. The team just moved into a new $1.5 billion stadium.

Forbes says the Falcons have commitments for more than $900 million in sponsorships at their new stadium, including the Mercedes-Benz naming rights.

More: Lions vs. Giants preview: DBs could give Detroit fits