The St. Louis Cardinals are the 27th most valuable sports franchise in the world, worth an estimated $1.4 billion, according to an annual ranking from Forbes.
Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid topped the list with a value of $3.26 billion, followed by the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees, who both had valuations of $3.2 billion.
The team values used for the Forbes ranking are enterprise values (equity plus debt) based on current venue deals.
The average value of Forbes’ top 50 teams grew 31 percent this year, to $1.75 billion. That growth was fueled in large part by lucrative television contracts, including new network deals for the NFL worth more than $5 billion per year and a new deal for the NBA worth $2.66 billion annually.
The Cardinals rank second in all of baseball in local TV ratings, with a 10.2 rating in the St. Louis market. The team has the top-rated local primetime programming in the market since the start of the season.
Recently, the Cardinals negotiated with Fox Sports Midwest for a new television contract. The current one expires after the 2017 season.