The Arizona Cardinals have been enjoying a resurgence in the past three years, and not only on the field. On July 13th, Forbes released a list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world in 2016, and the Arizona Cardinals have made the list for the first time since Forbes began compiling such information in 2010. Forbes estimates the Arizona Cardinals’ worth at $1.54 billion, 42nd place among franchises worldwide. That number represents a 54% increase from their 2015 value. Among NFL teams, that number makes them the 20th-most valuable team in the league, just ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers, while lagging just behind the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers. For a comparison across sports, the Cardinals are worth about as much as Liverpool FC of the Premier League. What could’ve fueled the Cardinals’ increase in profit this past year?
One possible reason may have to do with the National Football League’s increase in revenue as a whole. This past year, the NFL negotiated a new $900 million deal with NBC and CBS for the rights to Thursday Night Football. The NFL will also see in an increase in ad revenue thanks to a live streaming deal with Twitter hammered out this year. These deals are just icing on the cake compared to the billion-dollar deals the NFL has with the four other networks (not counting the league-owned NFL Network) that carry their games.
While that explains the increase in the number of NFL teams represented on this list, we now need to see why the Cardinals specifically jumped in value so much. One possible explanation is of course the sustained success that the team has maintained over the past three years. Their 13-3 record allowed the Cardinals to continue their 104-game sellout streak at University of Phoenix Stadium (counting since the stadium was opened in 2006). Of course, that improved record garnered them a home postseason game, which they did not host in 2014. One game doesn’t make or break your finances, but every bonus counts!
All in all, Bill Bidwill is undoubtedly a good businessman, but his wallet has definitely been helped by his team’s on-field success. Bidwill would love to be able to sell some Super Bowl tickets and merchandise this year to increase his profit, and Cardinals fans will more than likely be chomping at the bit to spend money on those if they become available this season.