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NYCFC to be valued at $1.9 billion

Analysis: Value of City will more than double by end of decade

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MLS: Columbus Crew SC at New York City FC
No, we’re not blowing smoke.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC will be valued at $1.86 billion by 2030 according to a report just released by The Action Network, the sports betting analysis firm. According to the report, the value will climb to $4.24 billion by 2040.

The Action Network said it arrived at this figure by analyzing data from Forbes and Statista.

Last year, Sportico valued NYCFC at $655 million, making it the fifth-most valuable club in MLS. Los Angeles Football Club is the most valuable franchise, with $860 million. According to Sportico, NYCFC trails only LAFC, Atlanta United, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Seattle Sounders. New Jersey Red Bulls, valued at $505 million, are in seventeenth place. The average MLS team is worth $555 million.

If you haven’t seen it, Sportico’s data visualization is good, clean fun, an interactive daisy wheel with revenue and attendance figures.

Considering that Newcastle United was sold for a little more than $400 million in October, these sky-high valuations might make you wonder what the number-crunchers are smoking. Are Nashville SC, a team that first took the field in 2020 and has scored a total of 79 goals in the entirety of its existence really worth more than the Magpies, a 130-year-old Premier League club with a 52,000-seat stadium and one of the most devoted fan bases in the world?

Well, maybe. The fee to join MLS is steep and keeps rising, which helps drive up the value of clubs in the league. In 2009, the Portland Timbers joined MLS for around $35 million. In 2013, City Football Group paid $100 million to join MLS. In 2019, the investors behind St. Louis SC paid $200 million to join MLS. One year later, the fee for Charlotte FC was between $300 and $325 million. MLS plans to add a 30th team by the end of this year, and while the price tag hasn't been announced it will likely be higher than the $325 million for Charlotte FC.

That fee becomes a baseline for the valuations of all MLS teams. In a league with promotion and relegation, you invest in your club so that it can climb the ladder; in MLS you buy a seat at the table, and the cost of squeezing in another spot is rising faster than the Florida housing market.

There is another reason for the climbing values of MLS clubs: The future’s so bright that Don Garber gotta wear shades. A new broadcast deal will be negotiated this year, the league’s young fan base is expanding, and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be staged in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, will likely give all things soccer a bounce in popularity. It doesn’t hurt that the quality of play in MLS is improving year-over-year.

Given all of that, NYCFC’s projected worth of $1.46 billion by 2030 could be seen as somewhat conservative.

UPDATED JANUARY 11, 2:31 PM: The Action Network revised its figures to account for inflation, and now projects that NYCFC’s valuation will be $1.86 billion by 2030, and $4.24 billion by 2040. An earlier version cited The Action Network’s figures of $1.46 billion and $2.42 billion respectively.