Bears, Cubs, Bulls among most valuable franchises

Bears, Cubs, Bulls among most valuable franchises
July 15, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Mark Strotman

Though the three teams have not won a championship since 1998, the Bears, Cubs and Bulls still have plenty of value in the city of Chicago, according to Forbes.

The website released its list of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises, led by Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona soccer clubs in the top three positions.

Unsurprisingly, the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys joined the list at No. 4 and 5, respectively, as the most valuable American franchises.

The Bears were the top Chicago team on the list at No. 16, ranking as the eighth most valuable franchise. Forbes estimated the Bears at a worth of $1.19 billion, saying "The Bears hiked ticket prices an NFL-high 9.2% last season, according to Team Marketing Report. The $111 average price for non-premium seating is the fourth highest in football behind the Jets, Patriots and Giants," three teams that ranked ahead of the Bears on the list.

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The next Chicago team on the list, the Cubs, may make a significant jump up in the next few years. Ranked No. 31 at an estimated value of $1 billion, the Cubs are preparing to begin a $500 million renovation on Wrigley Field and the surrounding area that surely will increase the value of the team. Only the Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers (7th) and Boston Red Sox (11th) ranked higher.

The Bulls should also see a nice jump when the rankings come out next season. Though they finished this year ranked No. 47, with a value of $800 million, they did so in a year in which they played without superstar and Chicago native Derrick Rose. With the 24-year-old point guard saying last weekend he is 100 percent healthy and ready to play, expect the United Center to be even more packed than last year, when the Bulls ranked first in attendance.

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The trend for sports teams in Forbes' top 50 is moving up, as they note, "the average team in the top 50 is worth $1.24 billion, up 16% over last year. There are 33 teams worth $1 billion versus 24 last year. Two years ago there weren’t any teams worth $2 billion; now there are five."