By DAN KARELL
In the wake of Major League Soccer’s decision to expand to 21 teams by 2015 with the inclusion of Orlando City Soccer Club, the league received some more positive news on Wednesday.
According to a report in Forbes, eight MLS franchises are valued at more than $100 million each, with the Seattle Sounders leading the way at a value of $175 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chivas USA occupies the final spot in Forbes’ valuation numbers, at $64 million. All numbers in the report are Forbes estimates taken from the 2012 season.
Behind the Sounders are the Los Angeles Galaxy ($170 million), Portland Timbers ($141 million), Houston Dynamo ($125 million), Toronto FC ($121 million), and the New York Red Bulls ($114 million). Rounding out the eight most valuable teams are Sporting Kansas City ($108 million) and the Chicago Fire ($102 million).
The last time that Forbes published their valuations of MLS clubs was in 2008 and only the Galaxy was valued at $100 million or more. In addition, 10 MLS teams are currently either breaking even or making a profit with their operating income, a major improvement for the league.
Forbes highlighted soccer-specific stadiums as a major factor in teams’ increased valuations, noting that they have given teams full operating control and a bigger share of the game-day revenue. Currently there are 12 soccer-specific stadiums in the league, with new stadiums in San Jose and Orlando on the way. Also, Forbes cited the league’s national TV contracts as big sources of revenue.
According to a separate report from Forbes, the Columbus Crew were sold this year for $68 million, five million dollars short of their 2012 valuation. Nonetheless, it was a record sale for an MLS team.
What do you think of this report? Happy to see the league’s growth? Do you believe the numbers have grown this season? Do you expect them to grow more once the league finishes expanding in 2020?
Share your thoughts below.