Despite a Super Bowl hangover that the Carolina Panthers couldn’t quite shake last season, the team’s net worth has surged to $2.3 billion.
According to a 2017 ranking by Forbes released Monday, that’s an 11 percent rise from the team’s value the previous season. It makes owner Jerry Richardson’s team the No. 21 most valuable in the NFL, two spots up from last year.
With an estimated worth of $4.8 billion, the Dallas Cowboys are the league’s most valuable team for the 11th straight year, Forbes said. The Panthers rank right below the Indianapolis Colts ($2.38 billion) and right above the Los Angeles Chargers $2.28 billion.)
The Panthers had profits of $102 million last season, Forbes said, thanks to ticket sales, merchandise sales and other revenue streams. The team recently wrapped up a $47 million round of renovations at Bank of America Stadium, which was part of a five-year, $87.5 million public-private financing agreement with the City of Charlotte.
Lucrative TV contracts for rising franchise values and labor deals with players help ensure team profitability, Forbes said. Also boosting NFL team values: rich stadium deals and relocations, such as the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and the Chargers to Los Angeles.
NFL teams also equally share the vast majority of their TV money, national sponsorship revenue and about one-third of ticket proceeds.
Working against NFL team valuations, however, are sluggish TV ratings, which declined 8 percent last season, Forbes said. Fans are also becoming “turned off by the gladiatorial nature of the sport” – but for now, the NFL remains the most lucrative league in the world by far.