There's a new No. 1 atop Forbes' annual valuations of the league's most valuable teams.
Atlanta United have dethroned the LA Galaxy for the moniker of league's most valuable club with a valuation of $330 million. The Galaxy came in second at $320 million, a growth of 1.6 pct from last year. The Seattle Sounders are valued at $310 million, good for third in the league.
"It's just an incredible success story," MLS Commissioner Don Garber told Forbes of ATL UTD's immediate rise. "I think it's one of the great expansion stories in the history of professional sports. The team continues to defy our expectations."
It's Atlanta's first time on the charts. Last year, their inaugural season, they didn't have a full year of financial data. This season's expansion side, LAFC, did have enough data to make the list and they debuted at No. 4, with a value of $305 million.
"I think Atlanta is getting a lot of attention," said Garber, "but I can't emphasize this enough: LAFC is an amazing story."
Toronto FC, 2017 MLS Cup winners, round out the top five at $290 million.
The average MLS team is now worth $240 million, up 7.6% from 2017. D.C. United again displayed a strong year-over-year growth, with a 15.2 pct increase from last year, now valued at $265 million, thanks in part due to Audi Field's opening.
Garber doesn't expect the league-wide growth to stop anytime soon.
"There's no doubt for me or anybody else involved in MLS that the World Cup in 2026 is going to be, in many ways, the rocket fuel that will elevate the sport of soccer and MLS to entirely new levels," says Garber. "It will be our 30th anniversary, and it will be a great way for us to celebrate the founding of our league, which was born out of the World Cup in 1994."
Top 5 - 2018 Forbes list of Most Valuable MLS Teams:
- Atlanta United, $330 million
- LA Galaxy, $320 million
- Seattle Sounders, $310 million
- LAFC, $305 million
- Toronto FC $290 million
Forbes’ full list of valuations can be found here.