They may be MLS Cup champions, but the Seattle Sounders couldn’t hold onto their title as the league’s most valuable team.
In their list of annual MLS team valuations published on Wednesday, Forbes declared the LA Galaxy as the most valuable club in MLS with a worth of $315 million, a 19 percent uptick from last year. The Sounders followed close behind at $295 million, while Toronto FC ($280 million), New York City FC ($275 million) and Orlando City SC ($272 million) rounded out the top five.
The average valuation of the 20 teams included in the Forbes study is now $223 million, up 20 percent from last year. Somewhat unsurprisingly thanks to the scheduled opening of their new stadium in 2018, D.C. United were the biggest individual risers, with the 11th-ranked Black-and-Red now worth $230 million, a 48 percent increase from last year.
That NYCFC and Orlando – both of whom entered the league in 2015 – rank in the top five is illustrative of a wider trend of the league’s newer clubs quickly finding off-field success. 2017 expansion sides Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC have both had success in the stands in their first year, with Atlanta averaging a league-best 46,000 fans per home game and Minnesota placing in the top-12 of the league in attendance despite the Loons’ poor record.
Atlanta, of course, have had plenty of on-field success, with the Five Stripes currently sitting in sixth in the East and ninth in the league table. Neither Atlanta nor Minnesota will receive a Forbes valuation until next year, after they have a full year of financial data in MLS.
Top 5 - 2017 Forbes list of Most Valuable MLS Teams:
- LA Galaxy, $315 million
- Seattle Sounders, $295 million
- Toronto FC, $280 million
- New York City FC, $275 million
- Orlando City SC, $272 million