On the field in 2011, the San Francisco 49ers were a team on the rise, while the Oakland Raiders floundered.
Turns out their success off the field and on the financial ledgers was a mirror image.
In Forbes Magazine’s annual evaluation of all 32 NFL teams, the 49ers’ value increased by an estimated 19 percent over the past year, second best in the league to the Minnesota Vikings (22 percent), primarily because the franchise secured financing for its new stadium in Santa Clara. The 49ers last season under new coach Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 in the regular season, won the NFC West and came within one victory of the Super Bowl while re-energizing their fan base.
Overall, Forbes ranks the 49ers as the ninth-most valuable team in the NFL, with an estimated value of $1.18 billion and a profit of $30 million over the past year.
The Raiders, meanwhile – who finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season -- are ranked 30th by Forbes, above only the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars. Forbes estimates the Raiders 'value at $785 million, with a loss of $15 million over the past year.
The Dallas Cowboys rank as the NFL’s most valuable franchise, worth $2.1 billion with a profit of $227 million. The other top four teams are: New England ($1.65 billion, $118 million), Washington ($1.60 billion, $109 million), New York Giants ($1.46 billion, $59 million) and Houston ($1.30 billion, $61 million).
In evaluating the teams, this is what Forbes’ Mike Ozanian had to say about the two Bay Area NFL franchises:
San Francisco: “The 49ers broke ground in April on a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara that the team expects to be ready for the 2014 season. The city will own the stadium and borrow $850 million to build it. The debt is expected to be paid off by selling seat licenses, stadium naming rights and rent paid by the 49ers. The new stadium will have 68,500 seats and 165 luxury suites. The value of the 49ers is up 19 percent versus last year.”
Oakland: “Al Davis acted as coach, general manager or owner of the Raiders for nearly 50 years before he died in October, leaving the team to his son, Mark. The team was well-supported in 2011 as no games were blacked out on local TV for the first time since 1995. The Raiders still desperately need a better stadium solution as stadium revenues were the lowest in the NFL in 2011.”