PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 27: An exterior view of Heinz Field before the start of preseason play between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons on August 27, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Forbes Magazine came out with its World's 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams feature recently, and every NFL team cracked the list, including the Pittsburgh Steelers coming in at No. 21 at $1.02 billion.
Much of the steam for the NFL teams (the Dallas Cowboys ranked the highest at third overall with $1.85 billion, and the Jacksonville Jaguars were the lowest, ranking 45th at $725 million) comes from the recent collective bargaining agreement, which guarantees labor peace for another decade, as well as new TV rights deals which go into effect in 2014.
Manchester United of the English Premier League is first at $2.23 billion, well ahead of second-place La Liga team Real Madrid ($1.88 billion).
The relative small market Steelers' franchise enjoys a world-wide following and is consistently in the top five of the NFL in terms of merchandise sales. Its continued success year in and year out helps establish a brand that's become synonymous with winning. Its NFL colleagues on the list nearly all represent considerably larger markets.
Other NFL teams in the top 10 were:
5. Washington Redskins ($1.56 billion)
6. New England Patriots ($1.4 billion)
9. New York Giants ($1.3 billion)