New York Giants Pass Dallas Cowboys In Latest Forbes SportsMoney Index Update

When we debuted the Forbes SportsMoney Index in February, we explained that our ranking of the sports business world’s most powerful accounts for both their financial strength as well as their individual business relationships. The former is easy to grasp, but it’s the latter category that truly captures how teams, athletes, brands and agencies are able to exert their influence on the sports world. Coca-Cola, for instance, is a much bigger brand than Pepsi, but the latter company has nearly twice as many sports deals and is thus the higher-ranked power broker of the two.

And it’s that dynamic that explains how, despite now being worth $4.8 billion – making them the most valuable sports franchise in the world – the Dallas Cowboys are not the top football team in the SMI. Rather, America’s Team has been surpassed by the rival New York Giants, who sit one spot ahead at No. 10 on the list.

Of course the G-Men are plenty valuable in their own right, ranking third-highest in the NFL at $3.3 billion, but it’s their business relationships that put them ahead. The Giants have two of the world’s top-paid athletes in Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul, while the Cowboys don’t have a single one ever since Tony Romo retired. And New York’s top sponsors surpass their rival’s; in our model Verizon, Toyota and SAP beat out AT&T, Ford and Bank of America.

Plenty of NFL teams moved up the ranks thanks to the fact that the average team is now worth $2.5 billion, up 8{8139253ca906d8d68487924acd2bd6dddc706794ed2ab7afbf93cd9cbc023267} from a year ago. The Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders all cracked the top 50 of the SMI for the first time, and the lowest NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, ranks alongside top teams in other sports (the New York Rangers and Washington Nationals are both within ten spots).

Our update also accounts for new player earnings numbers, and Matthew Stafford makes his SMI debut at an impressive No. 21 thanks to his new contract that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid player this season (total earnings: $52.5 million). And that also pushes up those who are invested in Stafford’s brand value – the Lions are up 60 places to No. 62, and his agency, CAA, also gets an impressive boost, jumping from eighth to fifth.

Other NFL players new to the list include a duo in Washington – Josh Norman (No. 48) and Kirk Cousins (No. 54) – as well as Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins at No. 81, one spot above Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

This latest update also captures some of the biggest non-football moves in pro sports. Kyrie Irving was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics, which pushes him up 51 spots to No. 120, just behind Serena Williams. And those teams also felt the impact in their SMI rankings – the Cavs are down 20 spots to No. 59 while the Celtics are up 33 places to just two places lower at No. 61.

And Neymar’s controversial transfer to PSG is responsible for some major shifts. The move will no doubt make Neymar a much richer man, but so far the jump from one of the world’s three most valuable soccer clubs to one not even in the top ten is seen as a negative in our system, and Neymar drops from No. 21 to a lowly No. 111 in the SMI. He should begin retaking some of that ground once we’re able to capture his future earnings, but for now he’s ranked alongside the likes of Paul Pogba, Al Horford and David Price. Barcelona meanwhile dropped four spots to No. 6, falling behind rival Real Madrid; PSG unsurprisingly skyrocketed, jumping nearly 50 spots to just a few places behind Chelsea.