BBefore he was the title character of an Emmy-winning series, Ted Lasso was the star of a 2013 marketing campaign for NBC after the network acquired the broadcast rights for the Premier League in the United States.
The ad follows the same fish-out-of-water show that later inspired the show: Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, was a red-blooded American football coach hired by Tottenham Hotspur and struggling. to understand the basics of “football”.
In one scene, Lasso is informed by his assistant about two of the most famous clubs in England.
He says Manchester United are “super rich” and “everybody either loves them or hates them.”
“Dallas Cowboys,” Lasso replies, playing around the cross-sport word association.
Liverpool “used to be big”, the assistant orders, but “haven’t won a title in a really long time”.
“Also the Dallas Cowboys,” Lasso says.
The setup could use an update. Liverpool, of course, have since returned to the top of both England and Europe. Manchester United is as polarizing as ever – and still spending a lot of money – but the club is inspiring more schadenfreude among its rivals than when the advert was first published.
However, the Cowboys remain the same: loved and hated alike, a generation removed from their glory years and, above all, “super rich”.
Team USA will report to training camp in Oxnard, California, next week to begin preparations for the 2022 season, 27 years since its last Super Bowl campaign. Dallas has posted a 4-11 playoff record since then and has not advanced beyond the second round of the postseason. Thirteen different franchises — including two of their hated division rivals — have won the title since the Cowboys’ last championship season, and Dallas was tied for most Super Bowl wins this century by the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. make a. There have also been scandals off the field, most recently a $2.4 million settlement over allegations that a Cowboys executive filmed team cheerleaders in the locker room.
But neither the underplay nor the scandal has slowed the Cowboys’ growth. The team’s star burns brighter than any other American sports superstar, consuming the national consciousness to a degree that not even the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Lakers can match. Dallas will play in five premiership games this season, the most a team has ever played in a marquee slot, and the team is a perennial A1 topic in sports media regardless of their record.
“They’re still ‘America’s Team,'” said Kurt Badenhausen, a reporter at sports business website Sportico. “They’re still the most watched team. Every network wants as many Cowboys games as they can. They have the biggest fanbase in the country.”
In the financial column, the Cowboys are unbeatable; even in the midst of a Super Bowl drought, it still rains in Dallas. The Cowboys have topped Forbes’ list of the most valuable sportsmen every year since 2016. And in an era where teams are being traded for forever, the Cowboys are likely to pay the heaviest price, if it’s put on. bazaar Forbes pegged the Cowboys’ worth at $6.5 billion, but that’s almost too low.
Jerry Jones, the undefeated team’s owner, said in May that he believed the Cowboys could fetch at least $10 billion on the open market — a decent return on the $150 million he paid to acquire them in 1989. take over the franchise.
Jones made it clear he would “never sell the Cowboys,” but his high valuation of the team is a testament to the financial strength of America’s most popular sports league.
“It really comes down to the financial structure of the NFL,” said Badenhausen, who started Forbes’ annual ranking of the most valuable sports franchises in 1998.
The NFL is the richest sports league in the world. It rakes in billions of dollars each year, most of which comes from its mammoth deals with broadcast and broadcast partners, and the money is split equally among its 32 teams. Badenhausen said the league generated about $18 billion in revenue in 2021, and is on track to reach its goal of $25 billion by 2027. runs through 2033, a deal that will bring in $300 million annually for each team.
The deal cemented the NFL’s status as not only the biggest draw in American sports, but also the focus of the country’s entertainment industry. Seventy-five of the 100 most-watched television programs in the United States last year were NFL games.
“Lorzik itself is so popular,” said Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant who has helped broker team sales and stadium developments throughout the NFL. “Sports are competitive, the players keep getting better, and that’s something that’s become part of American culture. If it wasn’t for that, the rest of us wouldn’t be where we are.”
The NFL imposes a salary cap that limits the amount of money each team can spend on players, a feature that has promoted balance on the field and brought greater profits to the owner’s coffers.
Badenhausen said the combination of the league’s staggering riches, and how that money is spent, has resulted in higher output for NFL franchises than even teams with a larger global footprint. More than half of the top 50 teams in the latest Forbes rankings came from the NFL, including three in the top 10.
“These big European clubs are big global brands, but they don’t value the size of the brand because of the financial structure of these clubs and what you have to spend to be competitive,” Badenhausen said. “How many clubs do you have in an arms race without limits.”
The recent sales of the Denver Broncos and Chelsea FC were decisive. Chelsea, one of England’s “big six” clubs and located in a major European capital, went for $3.2 billion. The Broncos, ranked by Forbes as the 10th most valuable team in the NFL and outside of a top U.S. market, were sold for $4.65 billion.
“Chelsea is a much bigger brand globally than the Denver Broncos, but because of the economy, the NFL’s second quarterback team outsells Chelsea,” Badenhausen said.
The financial structure that has enriched the Cowboys and 31 other teams in the league is one that Jones played a leading role in building. In 1993, Jones orchestrated a final deal with Rupert Murdoch that resulted in Fox replacing CBS as one of the NFL’s television partners. CBS offered the league less than it had previously paid for the broadcast rights. Murdoch, with Jones in his corner, secured the rights to Fox in a deal worth $1.6 billion over four years — 60% of what CBS offered.
“Jerry brought in Fox. Fox dramatically increased the rights fee. CBS lost the NFL,” Ganis said. “One story tells you about both the Cowboys and the NFL.”
Jones took the NFL to court in 1995 over league rules that limit a team’s ability to set its own endorsement deals. Looking to capitalize on the iconic Cowboys brand, Jones negotiated stadium sponsorships with Pepsi, Nike and American Express. The NFL sued Jones, alleging that the deal violated league-wide sponsorship arrangements. Jones responded with his own lawsuit against the league, saying the NFL effectively runs a cartel that controls team logos and trademarks.
The two sides settled, allowing Jones — and every other league owner — to enter into their own sponsorship deals.
“He changed the economics of the league in terms of what teams could do,” Badenhausen said. “He went out and sold the Cowboys harder than anybody on the sponsorship market. As a result of that, and because they have the brand to back it up, he was able to make money.
Under Jones, the Cowboys expanded their reach in North Texas to create even more sponsorship deals and commercial opportunities. The team opened a sparkling new stadium in 2009 with a capacity of more than 100,000, and in 2016 a new 91-acre practice facility that doubles as the team’s world headquarters.
The Cowboys have also been successful in growing their fan base outside of Texas. It’s long been a source of joy for many in the Lone Star State that the team has plenty of support in the Washington DC area, home of their division rivals, the Commanders. Some note that the Cowboys have been an integrated team since birth, unlike Washington’s NFL team, and Dallas has a strong following among D.C.’s Black population.
Badenhausen valued the Cowboys last year at $6.92 billion in team value for Sportico, saying they are poised to become “the first team in North American sports to post $1 billion in annual revenue.”
Ganis believes Jones would earn at least $8 billion if he were to market the Cowboys, saying the team’s value has been boosted by those new facilities and the league’s overall fortunes.
But as Ganis sees, the biggest reason for that appreciation is the man who raised the team in a straw bull.
Ganis said: “Cowboys are built on an extraordinary foundation. “You add Jerry Jones to that alchemy, and it becomes something extraordinary on a global scale.”