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Raiders’ value eclipses $3B mark as Las Vegas tenure begins

Updated September 25, 2020 - 5:02 pm

Since talk of relocating to Las Vegan began in 2016, the value of the Las Vegas Raiders has soared and now eclipses the $3 billion mark, according to Forbes magazine.

For the second straight year, the Raiders stand as the 12th most valuable franchise in Forbes’ annual NFL team rankings. The team has seen its value skyrocket to $3.1 billion this year, up from $1.4 billion in 2015 when it ranked 31st out of 32 NFL teams.

The Raiders’ value steadily increased after the relocation talks emerged, going from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $2.4 billion in 2017 and 2018, then $2.9 billion last year.

“You go back to before this (relocation) all went down just to take an unbiased time period, over the last five years their value is up 111 percent,” said Michael Ozanian, Forbes executive editor who created the publication’s sports team valuation lists. “It’s more than doubled.”

The construction of the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, the sellout of personal seat license and season tickets at the 65,000-seat venue and the naming rights deals tied to the stadium are responsible for the continued rise in valuation, Ozanian said.

This year, 15 teams had a value of $3 billion or more, with the Dallas Cowboys the most valuable at $5.7 billion. The Cincinnati Bengals were the least valuable at $2 billion.

“The Raiders are probably, in terms of the NFL, one of the handful of teams that are national brands,” Ozanian said. “They’re getting demand from a lot of people outside of Vegas. I think it’s going to be very successful… Their season ticket and PSL demand has been even stronger than in Los Angeles.”

The Los Angeles area also saw a new stadium open for the 2020 NFL season — the $5 billion SoFi Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers call home. The Rams are the fourth most valuable team at $4 billion, while the Chargers are the 21st most valuable at $2.6 billion.

The Raiders’ decision not to have fans in the stands for their inaugural season at Allegiant Stadium amid the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t hurt the team’s value this year, Ozanian said.

“What I’m expecting, across the league, is for teams to break even, as opposed to showing a huge operating profit,” he said. “For the Raiders, it’s plausible that they could go into a double-digit loss, in terms of an operating loss. That’s not going to impact the value because we’re already seeing the new TV deals. I’m expecting the media rights for the league in general to come close to doubling with the renewals coming in 2023.”

Once fans are allowed back into stadiums, the Raiders will be among the most profitable teams in the NFL, Ozanian said.

“If I’m a potential buyer of the Raiders and I was going to buy that team today, I’m thinking after this year I’m not going to have to put any money into this team to fund it. It’s going to be self-funding. In fact, I’ll be able to take a big dividend out and put it in my pocket. I expect the team will continue to increase in value.“

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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