The Forbes list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises came out on Monday, and if you are somehow still wondering about why the St. Louis Rams would want a $700 million upgrade on the Edward Jones Dome, this is a good place to start.
NFL teams, as a rule, are all pretty highly valued, but the Rams sit at the lower end of the spectrum. Forbes says that the Rams franchise is valued at $775 million. Only two NFL teams ranked lower on the list, Jacksonville and Oakland. You'll notice what other North American city is also mentioned in conjunction with all three teams.
First of all, the Forbes rankings are little more than a guidepost for franchise values. NFL owners did not open their books for a labor dispute, and they certainly are not going to open them up for the press. The only real way to determine what a team is worth is to sell it. Besides, that $775 million is not the most liquid of assets.
Notice the NFL teams nearer to the top of the list. They all have stadiums, newer, nicer stadium with plenty of suites and premium seating. Those venues also allow team owners to make a little more money on non-NFL events that happen in their house. Even the Chiefs, valued around a billion dollars, have a renovated home field.
Having a winning team helps too. The Rams have been forced to buy out their own seats recently in order to avoid a local blackout, a great move for fans, but not so much for the team's business. These last seven months have been all about putting a winning product back on the field, from hiring Jeff Fisher to trading away draft picks, etc. That sells more tickets and reconnects with an alienated fan base who could become useful allies in building public support for a Dome fix.
Kroenke's other pro sports team, the Arsenal, is ranked 10th on the list, valued at $1.29 billion.