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Steelers ranked as the 15th most valuable team in the NFL by Forbes magazine

Worth an estimated $2.585 billion according to Forbes, the Steelers saw more relative growth in the value of their franchises than all but two teams in the NFL from 2017 to 2018

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

For those that argue NFL players make too much money, the annual list of the league’s most valuable franchises puts the wage demands of players like Le’Veon Bell into perspective. With the Pittsburgh Steelers star running back sitting at home wondering what he needs to do to garner the paycheck he believes he deserves, the latest release of Forbes NFL valuations will do little to convince Bell he is not worth more than the Steelers are offering.

In their update list for 2018, Forbes rank Pittsburgh as the 15th most valuable team in the league with a worth of 2.585 billion, up one place from their 2017 position when they were valued at $2.45 billion. An increase in value of 5-percent is the third highest change of any NFL team over last year, with only the Seattle Seahawks (6 percent) and Los Angeles Rams (7 percent) seeing more growth. A rise that is even more noteworthy when you realise that 17 teams saw no increase in their valuation at all.

For the 12th year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys top the list with a value of $5 billion, while the Baltimore Ravens retain their title as the AFC North’s most valuable team at $2.59 billion and just one spot higher on the list than Pittsburgh at No.14. The Cleveland Browns come in third in the division and 29th overall at $1.95 billion and Cincinnati Bengals are one place behind, ranked 30th overall with a valuation of $1.8 billion.

Holding a debt equivalent to 8 percent of the value of the team is relatively small for the Steelers when compared to many of the other teams in the league. At the top end, there are franchises like the Rams carrying as much as 45% of their value in debt and there are currently 17 teams with a higher percentage of liabilities on the books than Pittsburgh.

Annual revenue of $415 million places the Steelers an impressive 14th among their peers, and an operating income of $85 million ranks 16th. As per Forbes, the operating income represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Founded by Art Rooney in 1933 for a cost of just $2500, $47,000 in today’s money, the franchise has increased in value by over 1 million percent since it was first established. Not a bad investment by The Chief then.