Geaux Saints, Geaux!

New Orleans football team’s estimated value has increased more than 190% over the last decade.
Chris
Illustration by Paddy Mills

Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football.


Legendary NFL head coach Vince Lombardi, winner of the first two Super Bowls and namesake of the league’s championship trophy, was once quoted as saying, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

But NFL owners, especially Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, may have something to say about that. While the Cowboys aren’t keen to point to the record book, Jones is more than happy to point to his checkbook and laugh all the way to the bank.

Dallas last won a Super Bowl following the 1995 season. At the time, Forbes valued the franchise at $238 million. In 2021, the team was estimated to be worth $6.5 billion, the highest-valued sports franchise in the world. In just over a quarter century, the Cowboys’ value has increased 2,631.1%, not a bad return on investment.

While every NFL owner hasn’t seen an increase like Jones, all have seen their team’s value increase substantially.

In 2012, Forbes valued the New Orleans Saints at $971 million. According to the company, the Black & Gold were worth $2.825 billion in 2021, an increase of 190.9% in a decade.

While Forbes had not released their 2022 rankings by the time the magazine went to press, Sportico, a sports business website launched in June 2020, released its 2022 NFL franchise valuation last month. It has the Saints valued at $3.26 billion. The site has the Cowboys valued at $7.64 billion.

Sportico’s drastic increases in NFL franchise values reflect this summer’s sale of the Denver Broncos. The team, which was purchased for $4.65 billion by a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, sold for 19.3% higher than Forbes’ $3.75 billion valuation of the team in 2021. When the Broncos sale price was made public, Forbes said it expects NFL teams to see a 12% increase in team values across the league as a direct result. Without taking any other factors into account, that would mean Forbes should value the Saints at $3.164 billion at a minimum when it releases its 2022 figures.

While it’s easy for the everyman to find themselves disgusted by such dramatic increases in the value of a sports franchise, New Orleanians should be happy to see their team rise in value. Ultimately, an increase in the Saints’ value will be a win for the Greater New Orleans community. Last September, Saints owner Gayle Benson announced Saints President Dennis Lauscha as executor of her estate. With no heirs to pass the team to, Benson, who also owns the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans (valued by Forbes at $1.53 billion), plans for the teams to be sold to an owner who will keep them in the Big Easy. All proceeds from the sales — which, using Forbes’ current figures, is a combined $4.35 billion — will be given back to the community through donations from the Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation.

After the Broncos’ sale, however, financial experts are predicting the sale of the next NFL team will likely top $5 billion. Depending on when the Saints and Pelicans are sold, both the NFL and NBA could see massive, new broadcast deals worth billions of dollars, which will further increase the teams’ values.

As the city comes off a summer of scorching heat and rampant crime, the return of football season is being looked upon as a saving grace by New Orleanians. Monday mornings are different in New Orleans when the Saints win on Sunday. Fans are looking forward to the Black & Gold lifting their spirits over the next few months. Eyes are focused on a return to the playoffs and, hopefully, another Super Bowl run. But with Mrs. Benson’s pledge and the NFL’s ability to continually bring in more and more cash, even if the Saints don’t make the championship game, the city will be a winner in the long-term.

 

New Orleans Saints estimated value over last 10 years

Recent sales of NFL teams and expected new multi-million to -billion-dollar media deals are pushing NFL team values to eye-popping heights. In 10 years, the New Orleans Saints value has increased 190.9%.

Year | Rank | Value | % change

2012 | 23 | $971 m | –
2013 | 23 | $1.004 b | 3.4
2014 | 23 | $1.11 b | 10.6
2015 | 23 | $1.52 b | 36.9
2016 | 29 | $1.75 b | 15.1
2017 | 27 | $2.0 b | 14.3
2018 | 26 | $2.075 b | 3.8
2019 | 25 | $2.275 b | 9.6
2020 | 24 | $2.475 b | 8.8
2021 | 25 | $2.825 b | 14.1

Source: Forbes