Liberty Media is a financially savvy owner that has grown its value by 32% since last year. In this 2022, according to the Forbes assessment, the American media company leads the list of the most valuable sports empires in the world for the second consecutive year, driven by the earnings and operating profit of Formula 1 and the champions of the MLB World Series, the Atlanta Braves.
For entrepreneurs, having the most valuable team in the world is not enough, but the timeshare of both franchises, stocks and real estate investments has become a trend. The Forbes list indicated that the business value of the 20 best-positioned sports property owners was 22% more than the previous year. This means going from 102,000 million dollars to 124,000 million.
The increase was fueled by the NFL’s bundle of media deals valued at $113 billion, as well as the NHL’s seven-year deal with Disney and Turner Sports, which together are worth close to $600 million annually.
Liberty Media’s most prized property, Formula 1, has increased in value by more than $4 billion year over year. The group also owns 100% of the reigning World Series champion Braves and their multi-use real estate project. It also has minority interests in the Drone Racing League, the Meyer Shank auto racing team, and the Kroenke Arena Company (home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche). Its value rose from $13 billion in 2021 to $17.2 billion in 2022.
More than six million dollars below is Kroenke Sports & Entertainment as the second largest sports group. The company, valued at $10.54 billion, is owned by clubs including Arsenal FC, the eighth-highest-rated team in the world, and is owned by Stan Kronke.
In third position is the group owned by John Henry, Fenway Sports Group, with a valuation of 9,800 million dollars. The group has Liverpool FC, from the Premier League, which between 2020 and 2021 increased its value by 88% after RedBird Capital Partners bought a stake for about 735 million dollars.
While many of the top 25 empires only own one or two teams, there is a growing trend toward timeshare ownership, with US investors seeking soccer teams both at home and abroad.
This week Major League Soccer (MLS) reportedly began negotiations with Aston Villa co-owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris to bring a team to Las Vegas. Edens is also part owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Separately, the Wilf family, which owns the Minnesota Vikings, bought Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride last July.
Sportico estimates that the average value of MLS franchises is 550 million, in contrast, the 20 most valuable clubs in the world (located in Europe) have an average value of 2,280 million.
This year Forbes expanded its ranking to 25, the last two places are occupied by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Washington franchises: Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, as well as aXiomatic Gaming, NBC Sports Washington, Monumental Sports Network and with shares in Sportradar that in total they have a value of 3,320 million dollars; and Tepper Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC worth $3.31 billion.