Today Forbes released it’s listing of the most valuable franchises in MLS. Toping the list at $245M is the Seattle Sounders – up from $175M two years ago. The LA Galaxy come in second at $240M – up from $170M. The average value of an MLS team is $157M – up more than 50% from 2012.
Interestingly 5 of the top 10 most valuable franchises (Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, Toronto FC, and Chicago Fire) were not original members of the League. While the accuracy of the Forbes data may be questioned, the strong representation of expansion teams did get us thinking.
The Forbes’ list does not include this years expansion franchises New York City FC and Orlando City SC – two teams that will surely feature near the top of the list in the 2017 rankings. Looking even deeper into MLS expansion future, early indications would seem to suggest LAFC, Atlanta United FC, and Minnesota FC are all well positioned to develop strong and valuable teams.
Is there a trend developing here? Very possibly. New teams entering MLS are benefiting from all the work that has preceded them. 20 years of learning’s (good and bad), an evolved soccer landscape, and a dynamic soccer fanbase provide every new team with an advantageous foundation from which to build. It’s very likely we will see new MLS teams dominating the Forbes rankings for years to come.