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Forbes: D.C. United second-lowest valued MLS club, Sounders top the list

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Forbes is out today with its first valuation of MLS clubs since 2008. No doubt owing to the club's stadium situation, the online magazine values D.C. United lower than any other franchise not called Chivas USA.

Ned Dishman

For the first time since 2008, Forbes has taken on the task of setting the market value for each of Major League Soccer's 19 clubs. (Well, since there were only 14 teams then, I suppose this is the first time ever Forbes has taken on a valuation of all 19 clubs.) For D.C. United fans, the news is that our favorite club doesn't fare well - not that it should really surprise anybody familiar with MLS's recent history.

Before we get into some specifics, let's look at the whole list:

Club Valuation
1 Seattle Sounders $175 million
2 LA Galaxy $170 million
3 Portland Timbers $141 million
4 Houston Dynamo $125 million
5 Toronto FC $121 million
6 New York Red Bulls $114 million
7 Sporting Kansas City $108 million
8 Chicago Fire $102 million
9 FC Dallas $97 million
10 Montreal Impact $96 million
11 Philadelphia Union $90 million
12 New England Revolution $89 million
13 Vancouver Whitecaps $86 million
14 Real Salt Lake $85 million
15 Colorado Rapids $76 million
16 San Jose Earthquakes $75 million
17 Columbus Crew $73 million
18 D.C. United $71 million
19 Chivas USA $64 million

Thoughts:

  • Let's start, as always, at home with United. It seems obvious that the stadium situation is the major drag on the valuation. United are forced to pay rent and cannot leverage the stadium into additional revenue through outside events. The club doesn't get income from auxiliary gameday revenue like concessions and parking, all of which is controlled by Events DC. Even though the club is valued at the second-lowest figure in the league, though, it's actually not that far off of clubs with their own stadiums like Columbus and Colorado. This seems to point to a massive jump up the rankings if and when the Buzzard Point stadium finally gets built.
  • New England are surprisingly high on the list, coming in at #12 with a valuation of $89 million. Like D.C. United, they are in dire need of new digs, but unlike the capital club, the Revolution share common ownership with Gillette Stadium and so are able to control more of the revenue than are United. Indeed, the Revs are able to turn a profit, which might explain Bob Kraft's lack of urgency to get a new stadium built for them.
  • The Sounders are the most valuable club in the league, surpassing even the Galaxy. That shouldn't be too surprising considering that gameday attendance is the biggest revenue source for MLS clubs and the Sounders famously are the league attendance champs. Thanks to that massive attendance, their operating income is well over two times any other team in the league. Perhaps more impressive, though, is the fact that the Sounders didn't exist as an MLS franchise the last time Forbes compiled MLS team valuations, in 2008.
Be sure to click through and read the whole article at Forbes. Then come back and let us know in the comments what's caught your eye about the new valuations.