49ers moving up in world among NFL franchises

The 49ers are in the middle of the pack among NFL franchises in terms of valuation, but they figure to be moving up on the list with their new stadium in Santa Clara under construction and set for a 2014 opening.

The Niners now are worth close to $1 billion, according to a recent Forbes' list of the 50 most valuable professional sports franchises in the world.

Forbes has the team valued at $990 million, a significant jump from its $925 million valuation of the team on last year's list.

But that figure still places the 49ers only at No. 17 among the 32 NFL franchises, which all made the top 50 list. The Niners rank No. 26 among all sports franchises.

With their state-of-the-art new stadium looming – and the team now back among the ranks of NFL powers – the 49ers could be moving up the list significantly in the near future.

The NFL's most valuable teams all have premier stadiums, several of them built in the past decade, and the Niners already have secured $138 million in luxury suite sales for their new $1.2 billion stadium project, which could soon vault them up the list.

The average value of NFL teams is now more than $1 billion, headed by the Dallas Cowboys, who were valued at $1.85 billion – well more than twice the value of the team at the bottom of the list, the No. 32 Jacksonville Jaguars ($725 million). Fifteen NFL teams have a valuation of $1 billion or more.

The most valuable sports franchise in the world remains English soccer team Manchester United, which has a valuation of a whopping $2.23 billion. Another soccer franchise, Real Madrid, is next at $1.88 billion. Then comes the Cowboys and baseball's New York Yankees, who are tied for third at $1.85 billion. Three other NFL teams – the Redskins (fifth), Patriots (sixth) and Giants (ninth) – made the top 10.

Here's the full list of NFL teams, which shows the disparity between the haves and have-nots among the league's teams, which is based largely on stadiums and stadium revenue streams:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $1.85 billion
2. Washington Redskins, $1.56 billion
3. New England Patriots, $1.4 billion
4. New York Giants, $1.3 billion
5. New York Jets, $1.23 billion
6. Houston Texans, $1.2 billion
7. Philadelphia Eagles, $1.16 billion
8. Chicago Bears, $1.09 billion
9. Green Bay Packers, $1.09 billion
10. Baltimore Ravens, $1.09 billion
11. Indianapolis Colts, $1.06 billion
12. Denver Broncos, $1.05 billion
13. Pittsburgh Steelers, $1.02 billion
14. Miami Dolphins, $1.01 billion
15. Carolina Panthers, $1 billion
16. Seattle Seahawks, $997 million
17. San Francisco 49ers, $990 million
18. Kansas City Chiefs, $980 million
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $980 million
20. Cleveland Browns, $977 million
21. New Orleans Saints, $965 million
22. Tennessee Titans, $964 million
23. San Diego Chargers, $920 million
24. Arizona Cardinals, $901 million
25. Cincinnati Bengals, $875 million
26. Detroit Lions, $844 million
27. Atlanta Falcons, $814 million
28. Minnesota Vikings, $796 million
29. Buffalo Bills, $792 million
30. St. Louis Rams, $775 million
31. Oakland Raiders, $761 million
32. Jacksonville Jaguars, $725 million

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