Owning a professional sports team is one of the many dreams sports fans have. Often times, fans believe they could do a better job running the team if they were in charge. I often believe this when my team does something questionable. Unfortunately for myself and fans like me, owning a sports franchise is only a pipe dream, especially for how much they are selling for nowadays.
The value of sports teams vary year to year and team to team but most teams in the three major sports associations, NFL, MLB and NBA, tend to be worth in between $300 million and $600 million*. And this is usually what teams are sold for. For example, the Seattle Supersonics of the NBA were sold to a group based in Oklahoma City for $350 million in 2006 (ESPN). But recently teams have been selling for much more than their value.
Teams all across the major sporting world are being sold for well above the market value. The Los Angeles Dodgers who are valued at $1.4 billion were sold to a group led by Magic Johnson for $2 billion two years ago (ESPN) and the pending sale of the Los Angeles Clippers has that franchise being bought for $2 billion as well (CBS) while the value of the team is $575 million.
This is an interesting phenomena in the sports world today and shows how much sports mean to people. Sports are one of the few things that can unite a diverse group of people towards a single cause. And that strength makes their value skyrocket.Sports also have a profound personal impact on people, which makes them value owning a team even more. I can attest to that because if I did not have sports to look to when I was younger, I don’t know what I would have done. The people that have these experience and understand the power that sports have, Mark Cuban comes to mind, are the people who are desperate to buy a team and will bid over value to have one.
With the Buffalo Bills still on the market after the death of Ralph Wilson Jr. (NFL.com), it will be interesting to see if one of those people who have personal experiences with the impact of sports go in on the bidding. They are valued at $792 million but if recent precedent holds up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sell for excess of $1.5 billion. The big sharks are currently circling the waters on the Bills and we’ll just have to wait and see if this trend of overbidding continues with not only the Bills, but other teams that go on the market in the future.
*All price values are based on valuations done by Forbes