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Who are Major League Soccer’s most valuable teams? All the answers here…

Nov 20, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders Getty Images

Make sure you have a pen, a piece of paper, a calculator and maybe some fingers and toes ready for all this, there are about to be some serious numbers thrown around.

Luckily for us, the chaps over at Forbes have been busy doing all the hard work and collecting data on Major League Soccer’s 19 franchises. They’ve found out which side take the mantle as “MLS’ Most Valuable Team” and have ranked all of the leagues franchises.

Forbes’ study calculates the teams value, while also noting each franchises revenue and operating income.

Surprised by some of these results? I am just going to throw out the overall value of each franchise in ascending order from the most valuable team.

Rave Green is all the rage these days, as Seattle lead the way with their incredible attendances and deep pockets to bring in big name DPs. Not far behind them in second place are the LA Galaxy and then the Portland Timbers are in a clear third spot ahead of Houston and surprisingly Toronto FC wedged closely in fourth and fifth.

There’s no surprise with some of MLS’ bottom-feeders in terms of value, but anyway, enough from me… enjoy breaking down the list below of Major League Soccer’s most valuable sides.

Most Valuable Teams in Major League Soccer

1. Seattle Sounders ($175 million)
2. LA Galaxy ($170 million)
3. Portland Timbers ($141 million)
4. Houston Dynamo ($125 million)
5. Toronto FC ($121 million)
6. New York Red Bulls ($114 million)
7. Sporting Kansas City ($108 million)
8. Chicago Fire ($102 million)
9. FC Dallas ($97 million)
10. Montreal Impact ($96 million)
11. Philadelphia Union ($90 million)
12. New England Revolution ($89 million)
13. Vancouver Whitecaps ($86 million)
14. Real Salt Lake ($85 million)
15. Colorado Rapids ($76 million)
16. San Jose Earthquakes ($75 million)
17. Columbus Crew ($73 million)
18. D.C. United ($71 million)
19. Chivas USA ($64 million)

  1. kirielson - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    DC is a bit low in my opinion and Seattle is a bit high (Seattle should switch with LA and DC with Colorado).

    With that said, what astounds me is that Roman Abrmanovich hasn’t decided to purchase the LA Blues and Chivas and merge them together.

    • tylerbetts - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      D.C. is probably so low only because of their stadium situation. Lack of control, lack of ability get improvements, lack of ability to bring in extra revenue. You add a stadium to DC and they skyrocket up the list.

    • charliej11 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Seattle is too high ? They make $50 million a year in rev on very low expenses.

      Is there risk in valuations of something growing so fast ? Sure, but I wouldn’t say overvalued on any of these teams until we see the new TV contracts.

  2. dws110 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    $64 million? I’ll give Don Garber 75 bucks and a coffee punch card with 8 out of 10 stamps (only two more to a free piping-hot mocha, there, Donster!) for Chivas right now.

  3. tylerbetts - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Didn’t Precourt pay $68 Million for the Crew earlier this year?

    That’s a heck of a turnaround on that investment. Everyone, buy an MLS team now. 10% growth in value in six months!

    • charliej11 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Umm, maybe he underpayed. It does happen. People value things differently. People need to sell, with limited buyers. Etc.

  4. hildezero - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Seattle at one? That’s not surprising. But Chivas… XD $64,000,000? What a joke.

  5. The Strange Attractor - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Interesting – the average value of an MLS team right now is $101.5m and the median is $96m. Makes me wonder about the $100m buy-in for a new franchise – should a new franchise immediately be worth more than half the teams in the league?

    The average West team is worth $107m. The average East team is worth $96m. And that’s keeping Houston in the East, everyone knows they’re really a West team (really, why did they even move into the East? They West could have kept the 10 teams, no problem).

    The biggest shocker to me is how much the values have increased since 2008 (the last time Forbes published this list). The average team then was worth $37m – so the average being up over $101m is crazy good growth.

    The saddest thing from the Forbes report is the TV viewership #s – placing MLS behind the WNBA! :(

    • bostonredsoccer - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      We know that the NYCFC price tag was $100 million, but is that what Orlando is paying? I thought there was an artificially high price for NYC. I know Beckham can get in for $25M, but what are they charging the other players?

      • Jackson Scofield - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        Orlando was $70M

    • talgrath - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      As far as TV viewership, MLSLive and the NBCSN app is a big boost for MLS, it makes the numbers a bit deceptive. The TV viewership might be low, but the internet viewership is much higher. Additionally, while MLS might have fewer viewers on couches, they have much much higher attendance than the WNBA, the lowest average attendance (Chivas USA) is still higher than the highest WNBA team. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_attendances_of_professional_sports_teams_in_the_United_States_and_Canada.

  6. crossmlk - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Anybody remember off the top of their heads what the franchise fee is currently?

    • dws110 - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      Montreal paid $40 million; Portland and Vancouver paid $35 million; Seattle paid $30 million.

      NYCFC’s $100 million is an outlier because New York.

    • talgrath - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Orlando supposedly paid $70 million.

  7. hildezero - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Good (first) question, bostonredsoccer…

  8. dfstell - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Man….that’s some small potatoes stuff on that list. I’m not trying to be “Eurosnobby” or anything, but Manchester United’s value is over $4.8 billion. The cumulative value of all the teams in MLS is just under $2 billion.

    I’m not pointing this out to say “MLS sucks” or anything like that, but we should all be realistic about what we expect from these clubs. They’re not even in the same ballpark as the really big clubs.

    • perrinbar - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Uh. Okay, guy who is lying about what he isn’t here to say, you picked the single most valuable franchise according to Forbes. And you are wondering why MLS doesn’t compare to that? Seriously? Who here is saying that any team in MLS is even close to the top teams?

      • charliej11 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        Yeah, he is NOT here to rip on MLS though.

        Not sure about your $4.8 billion either. What kind of revenues are they doing to be worth $4.8 billion ? They doing between $1b-$2b per year, of just growing so fast to command a huge multiple of revenues ?

        dfstell’s comment is the equivilent of a guy arguing about soccer leagues and they bring up Barca/RM/Man U as to why “their” league is so great.

    • talgrath - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      You are correct that Manchester United (the world’s most expensive franchise) is worth more than all the MLS teams combined; but it isn’t by much. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2012/07/16/manchester-united-tops-the-worlds-50-most-valuable-sports-teams/ According to Forbes’ estimate, to put apples to apples, the value is approximately $2.23 billion for Manchester United. Of course, Manchester United is the most valuable sports franchise worldwide with decades of history, arguably the face of the EPL, the most valuable soccer league in the world. Nobody expects to see MLS match the Premier League yet in value, so what’s your point?

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