Here’s How Rich Every NFL Team Is

Here’s How Rich Every NFL Team Is

The average price of entry into the least expensive NFL stadium is more than $60, but exactly half the teams charge triple digits to catch a game live. The league average, in fact, is a hair over $100 for a single ticket. You can’t blame football fans for wondering, then, where all that money goes. And while the NFL might no longer be a nonprofit organization, the teams in the league never have been. They rake in many, many millions of dollars in profit for their billionaire owners year after year.

But which teams are making the most? Does winning more games mean higher revenues? Or are the teams in the biggest markets the only ones really cashing in? GOBankingRates evaluated all 32 teams and ranked them in terms of revenue. Before you buy a jersey and a cold beer on one of this fall’s football Sundays, click through and find out which NFL team is the richest.

Last updated: Aug. 26, 2020

32. Oakland Raiders

  • Revenue: $335 million

  • Operating Income: $24 million

The Raiders’ position on the list of NFL earners mirrors exactly its position in the AFC West at the close of the 2018 season — on the caboose of the train. Only the lowly Arizona Cardinals finished with fewer wins than Oakland’s meager four victories. The Silver and Black will play the 2019 season in Oakland, but by 2020, they should be ready to move into their shiny new $1.9 billion digs in Las Vegas. They will play in Allegiant Stadium, under a reported 20-year, $25 million-a-year naming rights deal with budget airline Allegiant.

31. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Revenue: $346 million

  • Operating Income: $48 million

If the Chargers’ recent move from San Diego to Los Angeles was meant to take the team to greener pastures, it’s not apparent based on the team’s revenue alone at this point — but the team’s performance isn’t to blame. The Chargers finished 2018 a solid 12-4, tying division leader Kansas City’s record to take second place in the division and land themselves a spot as a playoff wild-card team. They beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the AFC divisional round but were hammered by the New England Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl.

30. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Revenue: $359 million

  • Operating Income: $60 million

The two things Cincinnati is known for: its status as the Chili Capital of the World and a Bengals team that disappoints year after year. The “Bungles” missed the playoffs again last season after limping to the finish line and closing with a record of 6-10, good for the basement of the AFC North. They haven’t won the Super Bowl in franchise history and haven’t been to the big game since 1988, which might have Bengals fans considering whether their hard-earned cash is better spent elsewhere.

29. Detroit Lions

  • Revenue: $361 million

  • Operating Income: $4.1 million

Detroit didn’t win a playoff game in 2018 — or the year before that or the year before that. In fact, May 23, 2019, was the 10,000th straight day since the Lions rewarded their fans with a postseason victory. The last time that happened was on Jan. 5, 1992, over the Dallas Cowboys, and the Lions hadn’t won a playoff game before that since 1957. The Lions finished 2018 in a familiar setting — last place in their division. To make matters worse, they hold the distinction of being the only team with single-digit operating income, pulling in a paltry $4.1 million — $20 million less than the second-lowest team.

28. Buffalo Bills

  • Revenue: $364 million

  • Operating Income: $67 million

Buffalo’s lower-than-average revenue figures certainly can’t be helping them pay the “bills.” The team finished the 2018 season at 6-10, with only the New York Jets to look down on in the AFC East, a division that had no team with a winning record except the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

27. Los Angeles Rams

  • Revenue: $366 million

  • Operating Income: $68 million

Los Angeles spent years trying to lure an NFL team back, only to go from zero to two in just one offseason — and the city’s efforts have paid dividends already. The Rams finished 2018 towering over the NFC West, tying the Saints for most wins in the NFL with 13. They made it to the Super Bowl, where they ran into the perennial postseason buzzsaw that is the New England Patriots and lost 13-3.

26. Tennessee Titans

  • Revenue: $371 million

  • Operating Income: $48 million

The Tennessee Titans, née Houston Oilers, certainly aren’t making money like a team once named after one of the most lucrative industries in the world. The team’s winning 9-7 record last year wasn’t enough to send them to the playoffs.

25. Indianapolis Colts

  • Revenue: $373 million

  • Operating Income: $67 million

The Colts were out of (Andrew) Luck in 2017 when the team’s star quarterback sat out the season with an injury. Indy came back strong last year, finishing second in the AFC South with a 10-6 record — good enough to secure a wild-card berth in the playoffs. They scored a lopsided wild-card victory against the Houston Texans and then suffered one themselves in the divisional round against Kansas City.

24. Cleveland Browns

  • Revenue: $375 million

  • Operating Income: $31 million

The Browns went 7-8-1 in 2018, a losing record that would make fans of a regular team cringe — but this is no ordinary team. When Cleveland finally squeaked out a win against the Jets in Week 3, it was a milestone victory — their first win since 2016, when the Browns won just one game. The Browns finished 0-16 in 2017, and for the uninitiated, that means they found a way to lose every game in a league where enforced parity makes it nearly impossible to be that bad.

23. Arizona Cardinals

  • Revenue: $380 million

  • Operating Income: $74 million

The Cardinals’ 8-8 season in 2017 was an improvement over the year prior, but not by much — in 2016, they finished 7-8-1. In 2018, Arizona took a severe downturn. Their 3-13 regular-season record was the worst in the NFL — even the lowly Jets and Raiders managed to win four games — but as a result, they had the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and selected quarterback Kyler Murray.

22. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Revenue: $380 million

  • Operating Income: $60 million

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes spent all but one game of his 2017 rookie year on the sidelines watching and learning — and his education paid off. When he finally took the helm in 2018, Mahomes was named All-Pro and League MVP, and he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl after breaking an astonishing number of long-standing franchise records, including most touchdowns in a season (50), most passing yards (5,097) and best passer rating (113.8). The Chiefs won the AFC West with 12 wins, earned a first-round postseason bye, won the divisional round and made it to the AFC championship game, where the Patriots decided Mahomes’ run had gone on long enough.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Revenue: $383 million

  • Operating Income: $88 million

The Bucs aren’t just struggling to earn, they’re struggling to win, too. After they went 9-7 in 2016 — their first season over .500 since 2010 — the 2017 season saw them regress to 5-11. It didn’t get any better in 2018, but the good news is, it didn’t get any worse, either — Tampa Bay closed out the 2018 season at 5-11 yet again.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Revenue: $391 million

  • Operating Income: $63 million

The Jags’ glorious run in the 2017 postseason — they made it to the AFC championship game, where they met their end at the hands of the Patriots — seems like an eternity ago for Jacksonville fans. In 2018, they finished in the AFC South cellar, tallying a paltry five wins on the year.

19. Carolina Panthers

  • Revenue: $396 million

  • Operating Income: $62 million

Although they squeaked into the playoffs in 2017, only to lose in the first round, Carolina’s luck ran out in 2018. The Panthers finished the year at 7-9, a sub-.500 showing in a division where the Saints were the only team to walk away with a winning record.

18. Minnesota Vikings

  • Revenue: $408 million

  • Operating Income: $90 million

The arrival of newcomer Kirk Cousins was not enough for the Vikings to find redemption for the heartbreaking postseason loss they suffered in the 2017 playoffs. Minnesota finished the 2018 season in second place in the NFC North with a winning 8-7-1 record, but their efforts fell short of a ticket to the postseason.

17. Seattle Seahawks

  • Revenue: $413 million

  • Operating Income: $71 million

Seattle finished 2018 strong, closing the season with a record of 10-6 and claiming the No. 2 spot in the NFC West — good enough to earn them a wild-card spot in the postseason. Their Super Bowl dreams ended quickly, however, with a 24-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card game.

16. New Orleans Saints

  • Revenue: $413 million

  • Operating Income: $115 million

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and the crown jewel of the Louisiana Purchase, but ask people there today “who dat?” and the answer is more likely going to be Drew Brees than Louis Armstrong or Thomas Jefferson. The franchise quarterback led the team to another NFC South title and threw for more than 4,000 yards for the 12th-straight season in 2017. In 2018, the run continued when the Saints marched to a division-clinching 13-3. They stopped the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round but lost to the Rams in a controversial NFC championship game.

15. Miami Dolphins

  • Revenue: $414 million

  • Operating Income: $56 million

Maybe the Dolphins should be less worried about “laces out” these days and more about “money in.” The $56 million the team earned in operating income last year was well-below other teams at similar levels of revenue — no other team with revenue greater than $400 million earned operating income under $60 million. Even though the Fins finished second in the AFC East, their 7-9 record left them watching the playoffs on television with the rest of us.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Revenue: $415 million

  • Operating Income: $85 million

The Steelers are one of the league’s most storied teams, winning six Super Bowls over the franchise’s long and illustrious history. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and company finished 2018 with a record of 9-6-1 —respectable, but not good enough for the postseason.

13. Baltimore Ravens

  • Revenue: $417 million

  • Operating Income: $107 million

It’s obviously not easy being a Cleveland Browns fan, but the fact that the original franchise left Cleveland, relocated to Baltimore, changed its name and won the Super Bowl just five seasons later has to hurt. The Ravens didn’t win the Super Bowl in 2018, but they did emerge at the top of the NFC North. They lost the wild-card game to the Chargers to make an early exit from the playoffs.

12. Denver Broncos

  • Revenue: $427 million

  • Operating Income: $106 million

It’s true that Denver fans were gifted a Super Bowl victory just four seasons ago, but four years is a long time when your team finishes either last or second-to-last in the division every season since, as Denver has done since its 2015 glory. In 2018, the Broncos finished in third place in the AFC West with a losing record of 6-10.

11. Chicago Bears

  • Revenue: $431 million

  • Operating Income: $100 million

The Bears roared in 2018, clinching the NFC North with a 12-4 regular-season record. Despite their efforts, their season came to a screeching halt in the wild-card round, compliments of the then-defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, who squeaked out a 16-15 victory to send the Bears packing.

10. Green Bay Packers

  • Revenue: $434 million

  • Operating Income: $62 million

The Green Bay Packers are raking in plenty of cash, but that money isn’t going to line the pockets of any billionaire owners. The Packers are the one team in the four major sports that is owned by its fans. In 2018, the Pack finished with a subpar regular-season record of 6-9-1.

9. New York Jets

  • Revenue: $443 million

  • Operating Income: $130 million

The Jets haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and haven’t won their division since 2002. Last year was par for the course. That other New York team finished the regular season with a decidedly sad 4-12 record that landed them at the bottom of the AFC East for the fourth time in five years.

8. Atlanta Falcons

  • Revenue: $451 million

  • Operating Income: $113 million

Three seasons removed from one of the most gut-wrenching losses in Super Bowl history, the Falcons have seen their product on the field take a step back. The team’s 7-9 record in 2018 was enough to land them in the No. 2 spot in the NFC South, but it was not enough for an invitation to the postseason.

7. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Revenue: $458 million

  • Operating Income: $114 million

After the 2017 season, the Eagles played spoiler in one of the most exciting and unlikely Super Bowl upsets in NFL history — and they did it with a backup quarterback. The birds flew to the playoffs again in 2018, although they were stopped short by the Saints in the divisional round after beating the Bears in the wild-card round.

6. Houston Texans

  • Revenue: $464 million

  • Operating Income: $161 million

The Texans have made it to the playoffs five times since 2011 but lost in the wild-card or divisional round each time, and 2018 was one of those years. Houston finished 11-5 to clinch the AFC South before falling to the Colts in the opening round of the playoffs.

5. San Francisco 49ers

  • Revenue: $470 million

  • Operating Income: $106 million

The influx of Silicon Valley money to the San Francisco Bay Area might be a big part of how the Niners cleared $470 million in revenue last year. It certainly wasn’t the team’s 4-12 regular-season finish in 2018.

4. Washington Redskins

  • Revenue: $491 million

  • Operating Income: $122 million

The team with the most controversial name in football has finished the regular season in last or second-to-last place in its division in 14 of the past 17 years — and 2018 was no different. A 7-9 finish put the Redskins in third place out of four in the NFC East. Even still, Washington managed to cruise to nearly a half-billion dollars in revenue last year, landing them a spot in the top four on this list.

3. New York Giants

  • Revenue: $493 million

  • Operating Income: $149 million

The adage “better to be lucky than good” needs a slight adjustment for NFL teams: “Better to be in a major media market than good.” The Giants ranked among the top three teams in terms of revenue and top four in terms of operating income despite racking up 11 checkmarks in the “L” column during the 2018 season.

2. New England Patriots

  • Revenue: $593 million

  • Operating Income: $235 million

In 2018, the Patriots did what they do best — they won the Super Bowl. New England’s victory over the Rams signaled the sixth championship of the Belichick/Brady dynasty. The Patriots also happen to be one of only two teams to break a half-billion dollars in terms of revenue. Even still, their $593 million in revenue is so far in the rearview mirror of the first-place earner that it’s barely even visible.

1. Dallas Cowboys

  • Revenue: $864 million

  • Operating Income: $365 million

As a business, “America’s Team” has no peer. Dallas cruised to the title of the most valuable team in the NFL for the 12th straight year. Valued at $5 billion, the Cowboys, in fact, are the most valuable franchise in the world across all sports. They’ve earned those big bucks, as of late, making it to the divisional round of the playoffs three times in the past five years, including 2018. They finished the regular season 10-6, enough to clinch first place in the NFC East.

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Revenue and operating income were sourced via Forbes.

This article originally appeared on Here’s How Rich Every NFL Team Is