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Steelers ranked as the 31st most valuable sports team in the world by Forbes

Among all professional sports teams, the Steelers ranked in the Top-50 worldwide.

NFL Hall of Fame Induction Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers might not have been able to come to terms on an extension with Le’Veon Bell, but it wasn't because the franchise lacks the funds to pay him. After Forbes released their latest list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams on Wednesday, the Steelers' ranking shows just how wide the the money gap really is between ownership and their employees.

Although Pittsburgh has seen a drop in its position on the list from No.28 last year to No.31 in 2018, the Steelers' value has still increased from $2.25 billion to $2.45 billion on the year. The Dallas Cowboys retained the No.1 spot on the list valued at $4.8 billion, with soccer teams Manchester United ($4.123 billion) at No.2, Real Madrid ($4.09 billion) at No.3 and Barcelona ($4.064 billion) No.4. Rounding out the top-5 was the New York Yankees with a projected value of $4 billion.

Overall, the list is dominated by NFL teams, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills being the only three clubs in the league failing to make the top-50. Forbes ranks Pittsburgh as the 16th most valuable NFL franchise, two places below the Baltimore Ravens ($2.5 billion) and far ahead of the Cleveland Browns ($1.95 billion), the last ranked team on the entire list.

While NFL franchises might not enjoy the global audience that some other sports enjoy, it's clear that the revenue generated from NFL TV contracts dwarfs the amounts earned in other leagues. As Kurt Badenhausen observed.

TV networks pay billions to satisfy viewers wanting NFL action. NFL teams evenly divvied up $8.2 billion, or $255 million per team, last season from shared league revenue, with TV rights deals from CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and DirecTV the bulk of the money.

A payment also noted by ESPN reporter Darren Rovell recently when the Green Bay Packers' accounts for 2017 became public record.

With the current CBA due to expire after the 2020 season, the NFLPA might want to highlight the league’s dominance among the world’s richest sports teams during negotiations. Someone is clearly making big money from football and it isn't the players.