Forbes: Five NFL franchises worth over $1 billion each

NEW YORK -- Five teams, led by the Washington Redskins, have franchise values above $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine's annual survey.

The Redskins have led the list for seven straight years and are worth $1.423 billion, an increase of 13 percent over last year. They have an operating income of $108.4 million, more than double every other NFL team except Houston and Tampa Bay.

The New England Patriots rank second in Forbes' calculations at $1.176 billion. They are followed by the Dallas Cowboys at $1.173 billion, the Texans at $1.043 billion, and the Philadelphia Eagles at $1.024 billion.

That means three of the five most valuable teams are in the NFC East. The other division member, the New York Giants, are 15th at $890 million.

The Texans stand second in operating income with $57.6 million, followed by the Bucs at $56.9 million.

On the other end of the chart is the Minnesota Vikings, who were purchased last year by Zygi Wilf. They are worth only $720 million -- although that would rank second in major league baseball behind only the Yankees.

And the Yankees, valued at $1.026 billion, would be fifth among NFL franchises.

Minnesota plays in one of the league's oldest stadiums, which pushes down its value. Wilf is busily negotiating for a new ballpark.

But don't fret for Wilf, who purchased the team for $600 million a year ago. He's already made a profit.

Only one team, the New Orleans Saints (27th at $738 million), has a negative operating income, $4.1 million. The Saints, of course, were displaced by Hurricane Katrina last season, playing home games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge.

Yet the Vikings and four others -- Oakland ($736 million), San Francisco ($734 million), San Diego ($731 million) and Atlanta ($730 million) -- are valued below the Saints.

The Raiders, 49ers, Chargers and Falcons all are planning or seeking upgrades in their stadiums, too.

Rounding out the top 10 are the Denver Broncos ($975 million), Cleveland Browns ($970 million), Bucs ($955 million), Baltimore Ravens ($946 million) and Chicago Bears ($945 million).