LAFC Tops Forbes List of MLS Team Values; 1st Billion Dollar Franchise

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 2, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 5: Carlos Vela #10 of Los Angeles FC raises the MLS Cup after Los Angeles won the MLS Cup Final game between Philadelphia Union and Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Ericson/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Rob Ericson/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Los Angeles FC became the first MLS club to receive a valuation of $1 billion by Forbes after the outlet published its projected values for each of the league's member teams.

The Los Angeles Galaxy are hot on the heels of their crosstown rivals at $925 million. Atlanta United FC ($850 million), New York City FC ($800 million) and D.C. United ($700 million) rounded out the top five.

Forbes' Justin Birnbaum noted the average valuation of an MLS club has grown by 85 percent since the outlet last performed the exercise in 2019. Four years ago, Atlanta United carried the highest dollar figure at $500 million. This time around, Nashville SC has the same evaluation and cracked the list at No. 18.

Granted, MLS still has a long way to go to keep pace with the top clubs in Europe.

According to the Deloitte Football Money League, Manchester City generated revenue of €731 million in 2022. Forbes, meanwhile, valued Real Madrid as the most expensive soccer club in the world at $5.1 billion last May.

Still, MLS has come a long way and appears to already be seeing the effects of its new media rights deal with Apple. The two sides agreed to a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract that begins with the upcoming season.

The $250 million annual payout is more than double the $90 million MLS collectively received from ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision on its last deal.