2017 has been a bumper year for the worldwide sports industry. Worth around $400 billion dollars, we take a look at the top earning teams and agencies.

Top Sports Teams 2017

Revenues for National Football League (NFL) and European Soccer Leagues in 2017 were $13 billion and $13.7 billion respectively. European Soccer League revenue was comprised of the UK Premier League $5.3 billion, Bundesliga (German Football League) $2.8 billion, La Liga (Spanish Football League) $2.2 billion, Serie A (Italian Football League) $1.9 billion and, Ligue 1 (France/Monaco Football League) $1.5 billion.

Making it into the Forbes most valuable sports teams is a mix of NFL, NBA and European Soccer teams.

As we can see from the chart above, the top money team in the world is the Dallas Cowboys. Owned by Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys is now worth over $4 billion dollars. This figure is based on the value of its rights and sponsorship deals. American Telecom giant AT&T paid for the naming rights to the Cowboys’ Home Stadium, a deal valued at over $15 billion. AT&T stadium in its own right is worth $1.2 billion dollars.

Coming in second place is the New York Yankees. Synonymous with New York City, the Yankees are valued at $3.7 billion dollars. Lucrative clothing deals and sponsorship are behind the baseball team’s success.

UK Premier League team Manchester United also makes it into the top 5. Manchester United currently has an estimated value of $3.69 billion. Famous for big-name players such as David Beckham, Manchester United is perhaps the most famous soccer team in the world.

Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona has also earned its way onto the Forbes list. In terms of monetary value, it is second to Manchester United at $3.64 billion. Sponsorship and advertising deals are to thank for FC Barcelona’s financial success.

Fifth place in the Forbes list goes to FC Barcelona rival Real Madrid. Real Madrid’s market value for 2017 is around $3.58 billion.

NFL vs Soccer

European Soccer clubs are only slightly behind NFL in terms of value. Within the next few years, this may be set to change as soccer becomes more popular in the U.S. starting from next year as 2018 is the year of the FIFA World Cup. Research suggests more Americans are looking up soccer rather than NFL. Increased U.S. interest in soccer could see a European soccer team overtake the Dallas Cowboys next year.

The gambling behaviours of fans are also likely to affect Forbes’ 2018 list. Closer ties between online casino and sports bets, have allowed for more of a fan crossover. Especially in Europe and Canada, where fans can easily access sportsbooks and online casino games. Many of the best online casinos sites in Europe and Canada offer players the latest news, betting guides and general information. Online gambling will be one of the biggest growth factors for both NFL and soccer in 2018. Soccer is likely to make the most gains here due to their existing wagering fan base.

Which sports leagues and agencies earned the most in 2017?

Running a multi-billion dollar sports team doesn’t come cheap. For sports team owners the biggest expenses are player’s fees. Fees are negotiated on behalf of the player by their agents. Sports agencies are the legal representatives of players and are charged with negotiating all their contracts. On average, sports agencies take around 4-10% of the player’s salary as payment. Considering NFL player salaries and European soccer salaries can run into the millions, sports agents stand to make a fortune in the 2017/18 season.

League Sport Agencies Player Salary Ave. Agency Cut Ave.
NFL Teams Football CAA, Prosource Sports management, and Yee & Dubin $375,000 -$20,000,000 $11,000-$600,000
UK Premier League Soccer Stellar Group, Media Base Sports, and Gestifute $27,000 – $14,600,000 $1,300 – $619,000
NBA Basketball CAA, Excel Sports Management, and Octagon $473,000 –   


$9,460 – $1,120,000
NHL Hockey The Sports Corporation and Langadere Sports $525,000 – $12,000,000 $21,000 – $480,000
MLB Baseball CAA, Octagan, and Boras Corp $400,000 – $30,000,000 $15,000 – $1,200,000

Source: Sports Agency Blog