NEW YORK - The Dallas Cowboys are worth $4.2 billion, making them the most valuable sports franchise for the second straight year, according to Forbes .
In its annual rankings, Forbes placed the New York Yankees second - up from fourth a year ago - with a value of $3.7 billion.
Next are three soccer clubs: Manchester United ($3.69 billion), Barcelona ($3.64) and Real Madrid ($3.58).
The rest of the top 10 includes the New England Patriots ($3.4 billion), New York Knicks ($3.3 billion), New York Giants ($3.1 billion), San Francisco 49ers ($3 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($3.0 billion).
The rankings are based on Forbes’ valuations done over the last year for all NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, soccer, NASCAR and Formula One teams.
The average current value of the top most valuable teams is $2.5 billion, the highest to date, an increase over last year, when the average value was $2.2 billion.
The Houston Texans are ranked No. 9 in the NFL at $2.6 billion. The least valuable of the 32 NFL teams is the Buffalo Bills at $1.5 billion.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid $150 million for the Cowboys in 1989.
Forbes added, the Cowboys set an NFL-record revenue of $700 million, $177 million more than any other football team.
The Cowboys’ latest venture is their new $1.5 billion team headquarters and practice facility in Frisco, that opened in 2016. The Star will eventually be a 91-acre retail and entertainment complex with a 16-story Omni hotel, convention space and medical center.
The site has a 12,000-seat indoor stadium to be shared with eight local high schools. The team sold out 800 memberships to the Cowboys Club at The Star. The $4,500 initiation fee plus $350 a month gives members a chance to watch the Cowboys practice.
The city of Frisco is contributing $261.6 million to the project with the Cowboys and investors covering the balance.
In other NFL news, relocation fees helped boost the bottom line for the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL. The league’s only publicly owned team released its 2017 statement on Wednesday, reporting net income of $72.8 million.
About $27.1 million is part of the team's share of the fees that the Raiders, Rams and Chargers had to pay to relocate. Such fees are split equally among NFL teams that aren’t moving.
Forbes said the Packers are worth $2.35 billion.
The Packers’ annual financial statements always provide a peek into the lucrative business side of the NFL, especially since the team plays in the league's smallest market. The relocation spree over the past year gave the report added relevance.
The Raiders’ fee to move from Oakland to Las Vegas was about $350 million. The Rams had to pay a $650 million fee to go from St. Louis to Los Angeles, while the Chargers had to pay the same amount to move from San Diego to join the Rams up the California coast.
So that would mean the share of the relocation fee pot for each of the 29 teams that didn’t move would be approximately $55 million. With taxes and estimating the value of the dollar in future years, the actual accounting gets hazy fast without an accounting degree.
The Packers said its share of relocation money will be paid over 10 years, starting in 2020.
Overall, one of the NFL’s marquee teams had another strong financial year: Total revenue rose 8 percent to $441.4 million, a new high for the 14th straight year.
The financial stability stems from how the Packers are “operating our business in a very responsible manner,” Murphy said.
Revenue from national sources rose 9.6 percent to $244 million, which the Packers said was due to the NFL Network and the league's TV contracts.
Expenses rose by 12.7 percent to $376.1 million. Expenses outpaced revenues because of the cyclical nature of player contracts and the first full year of depreciation costs connected to recent renovations at Lambeau Field, the team said.
Without the relocation fee money, the Packers’ net income would have declined slightly from the $48.9 million listed in 2016.
NFL: 1, Dallas Cowboys, $4.2 billion; 9, Houston Texans, $2.6 billion
NBA: 1, New York Knicks, $3.3 billion; 8, Houston Rockets, $1.65 billion; 9, Dallas Mavericks, $1.45 billion; 12, San Antonio Spurs, $1.175 billion
MLB: 1, New York Yankees, $3.7 billion; 11, Texas Rangers, $1.55 billion; 13, Houston Astros, $1.45 billon
NHL (2016): 1, New York Rangers, $1.25 billion; 12, Dallas Stars, $500 million
NASCAR: 1, Hendrick Motorsports, $350 million; 2, Joe Gibbs Racing, $225 million; 3, Stewart-Haas Racing, $180 million; 4, Richard Childress Racing, $170 million; 5, Rousch Fenway Racing, $170 million