The Rooney Family likely has one of the best return on investments of all-time currently, as the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently valued at $4.26 billion according to Sportico. That number is up 19% from last year, and puts the franchise as the 13th most valuable franchise in the NFL in Sportico’s rankings they released Monday morning.
That is one heck of an ROI for an initial $2,500 investment, which was originally made to found the team back in 1933 by Art Rooney.
The Steelers are slightly outpacing the rest of the NFL, as the average NFL franchise is currently valued at $4.1 billion and increased in value by approximately 18% over the past year.
Even though the Steelers are an above average NFL franchise in terms of value, there is still a large disparity between them and the top spot. Currently the Dallas Cowboys are the highest valued franchise, with a value at a whopping $7.64 billion.
The Cowboys are a whole $1.73 billion above the second place franchise on this list, the Los Angeles Rams, who surpassed the New England Patriots on this list after winning the most recent Super Bowl.
The Steelers Are The Highest Ranked Franchise In The AFC North
When you compare the Steelers to their division rivals on this list, they are by far the most valuable within the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens ($3.44 billion), the Cleveland Browns ($3.18 billion), and the Cincinnati Bengals ($2.84 billion) come in at 21st, 27th, and last place in estimate value this year.
The Bengals remain just behind the Detroit Lions in the rankings by Sportico despite coming off of their first Super Bowl appearance since 1989.
When looking into the evaluations of the franchises across the NFL, Sportico has this to say about how they evaluate the team:
“NFL franchise valuation, derived from metrics by which football-team transactions occur, including aggregating local and national revenues and factoring in a team-specific multiplier. This represents the fair market value of the team itself, excluding related businesses held by its owners. It includes the value of each franchise’s 3.13% interest in the league’s properties, including NFL Network, NFL RedZone and its digital platforms, which are acquired/dispossessed in tandem with the sale of a team.”
Sportico looks at more than just the value of the franchise itself however, as it also takes into account team related business and real estate holdings in their evaluations before putting together their rankings.
“The value of a franchise owner’s equity in team-related businesses that are distinct corporate entities, as well as government-assessed real estate related to venue, practice facilities and adjacent developments. Examples include: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ 20%-plus interest in Legends Hospitality, a stadium operations corporation; and the Washington Commanders’ subsidiaries, which own roughly 300 acres near the team’s stadium and practice facility.
This category excludes value derived from enterprises determined as too attenuated from the football team’s operations, which fall into three categories: (1) rent from non-football, outside-of-stadium retail operations, like the Green Bay Packers’ Titletown venture or New England Patriots’ Patriot Place; (2) licensing fees paid by non-football third parties to a team’s sister company for the use of intellectual property; (3) team owner’s investment in businesses unrelated to franchise operations. Examples include the Cowboys’ sister company Blue Star Land’s joint ventures with real estate partners.
For franchises that do not own their venues, the value of a team’s lease—often with advantageous terms negotiated with municipal or state authorities—is captured in the Team Value category.”
Helping the evaluation for the Steelers is the fact that the team had a significant revenue increase from 2020 to 2021. In 2020, their revenue stood at $364 million, which was tied for 19th across the NFL.
In 2021, the Steelers had a revenue of $508 million, which is a 39.6% increase in revenue and total of $144 million in added revenue. Their total 2021 revenue was 18th across the NFL.
Being arguably the most successful franchise throughout the history of the NFL definitely plays a role into the team’s evaluation, and also a culture that has been instilled in Steeler Nation and the franchise.
The evaluation is definitely nice to see for the Rooney’s, but it is highly unlikely the family would ever sell the franchise that they founded almost 90 years ago regardless of how high the evaluation gets.