The city of Chicago holds a special place in the sports world thanks to their collection of legendary franchises, and that group flexed its financial muscles in a new ranking released on Wednesday.
That ranking is the annual list of the world's 50 most valuable sports teams, compiled by financial magazine Forbes. The top spots on the list are occupied by international soccer standouts (Real Madrid, FC Barcelona) and some of the biggest-ticket teams in American sports (Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees), but Chicago is well-represented with three teams making in the top 50.
Grabbing the top spot among the Windy City contingent are the Chicago Bulls, who checked into the 14th spot with a value of $2 billion. That number is double their value from last season, with the magazine crediting the team’s ticket sales (they led the NBA in that category for the sixth year in a row) for their robust growth.
Joining the Bulls in the top 20 was the Chicago Cubs, who ranked 17th with a value of $1.8 billion. The team’s renovation of Wrigley Field, as well as the recent sale of a minority stake that generated $150 million in revenue, were both cited as reasons for their ascent on the list.
The Chicago Bears also made the list, finishing in a tie for 20th place with the Boston Celtics. Their value stands at $1.7 billion according to Forbes, and even though that price only increased by 36 percent in the last year, they still benefit from high ticket demand despite the high price of admission to games at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago White Sox did not make the list, with the Hawks facing a steep challenge as NHL teams generally don’t fare well on the list. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the top ranked hockey franchise, with a value of $1.3 billion.