The Atlanta Falcons were the best team in the NFC South by a wide margin a season ago, and they head into the 2017 season as the early favorites to repeat as champions in the division. They are also the single most valuable team in the division when you go by sweet, sweet money.
Don’t believe me? Then check this list from Forbes, which ranks the 51 most valuable North American professional sports franchises. How much money is that? $2.13 billion!
The Falcons and their snazzy new stadium check in at #33, the Panthers at #37, the Buccaneers at #47, and the Saints at #50. The Cowboys (#1), Patriots (#6), Giants (#8), and 49ers (#9) are the NFL teams that made the top ten, as you’d expect from franchises with major markets and a lot of historic support.
The team’s valuation has risen significantly over the past decade-plus as Arthur Blank asserted control over the team, the product on the field got better, and the team invested a lot more in the community, marketing, and yes, now that brand new stadium. That has corresponded with a rise in the team’s profile, to the point where they’re now widely recognized as one of the NFL’s best teams. Winning doesn’t accomplish everything—look at the 49ers of recent years—but it has helped the Falcons in ways both large and small.
This means absolutely nothing to us as fans except that it provides yet another way to brag about how the Falcons are bigger and better than their rivals. We never get tired of those.