Money and entertainment are intertwined in perhaps the most unique way in the world of sports. On one hand, there are vast numbers of fans following one sport or another, rooting for one team or another, generating buzz and excitement around games, stars, and teams. On the other, there are the businesses that are the leagues and the teams themselves, generating revenues from a variety of sources – sponsorships, endorsements, media rights, and so on. Even if for some sports are a source of casual fun only, much like free spin pokies played occasionally online, for many, these are part of their everyday life.
Let’s not forget, though, that sports teams and leagues are still businesses with their value given by their revenue. And let us take a look at the top 5 most valuable sports leagues in the world today, based on their revenues per each player involved.
5. National Hockey League (USA, Canada)
The National Hockey League (NHL) is North America’s professional ice hockey league with 31 teams based in the United States (24) and Canada (7), with its headquarters in New York City. Its current season will be its 100th – the league was founded on November 26, 1917, in Montreal. The latest available numbers on the league’s total revenue refer to its 2015-2016 season: it had revenues of €3.7 billion, meaning €119.4 million for each team.
4. Premier League (England)
The Premier League is the most followed association football league in Europe and perhaps the world. The league includes 20 teams/clubs (19 from England and 1 from Wales), each playing 38 matches during a season running from August to May. Premier League teams are big business, with many sources of revenue, ranging from sponsorship deals to streaming and broadcast rights.
In its 2015–16 season, the Premier League had revenues of €4.87 billion, or €243 million for each team.
3. National Basketball Assotiation (USA, Canada)
The National Basketball Association is among the most popular basketball leagues worldwide. It has 30 teams, 29 from the US and 1 from Canada. It has two conferences (Eastern and Western), with three Divisions each, and massive following around the world.
The total revenue of the association during its 2015-2016 season was €5.87 billion, meaning €243 million for each team.
2. Major League Baseball (USA, Canada)
Another prestigious sports league, the oldest in the United States. MLB has 30 teams (again, 29 from the US and 1 from Canada) and a massive fan base, especially in its home country. Last year, the MLB had revenues of €9.5 billion, which translates to €316.7 million per team.
1. National Football League (USA)
The NFL is the undisputed champion of sports leagues when it comes to revenues – and to team values, too. In 2016, the league had revenues of €13 billion (over €406 million per team). Besides, it has 28 of the world’s most valuable 50 sports teams – the Dallas Cowboys, this year’s “champion” on the list, has a value of €3.52 billion (this year was the first in which the headliner isn’t an association football team).