|Patriots rate as world’s 6th most valuable franchise||07.13.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
The New England Patriots, once a laughing stock of the National Football League, is now regarded as one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports.
Forbes – in its annual review of sports franchise – values the team owned by Robert Kraft at $1.37 billion, good for sixth in the world.
Forbes writes that “sponsorship revenues were up in 2010 and demand for tickets remains strong despite the highest prices in the league.”
The top team is the international soccer dynasty, Manchester United, valued at $1.86 billion. The Glazer family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Man-U will be at Gillette Stadium Wednesday night for a soccer “friendly” with the New England Revolution.
The Dallas Cowboys are second at $1.81 billion, followed by the New York Yankees ($1.7 billion), Washington Redskins ($1.55 billion) and the European soccer power Real Madrid ($1.45 billion).
Kraft was offered $75 million in 1994 as a minority partner by then-owner James Orthwein to buy out the remainder of the team’s lease at the Foxboro Stadium, which, if Kraft agreed, would free Orthwein to move the Patriots to St. Louis.
However, Kraft not only refused the offer, but made a counter-offer of $175 million – an NFL-record at the time – for the outright purchase of the Patriots. The move was stunning at the time since the Patriots were among the NFL’s least-valuable franchises. As Kraft had the stadium lease as leverage, Orthwein had little choice but to accept Kraft’s counter-offer.
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