Sounders Valuation Again Tops Forbes List

September 29, 2016

The Sounders once again topped Forbes’ MLS valuation list.  According to the magazine, the club’s value increased from $245M to $285M over the last year.  As with last year, Forbes bases the valuations on a multiple of assumed revenue.  It’s not the clearest way to value a team, as a multiple of operating profit would be preferable.  But in Forbes defense, MLS financial figures are not easily found.

Still, it’s a bit hard to believe the Sounders are worth more than any of the New York or Los Angeles franchises.  With MLS even more of a socialist model than the NFL, one would expect valuations to roughly equate to market size, as with the NFL minus some unique exceptions (Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, etc).  But MLS clubs still have wide differences in stadium revenue generating opportunities as compared to the NFL.  So as a result, it’s quite possible that an upper middle market team could be more valuable than at least a few large market franchises.