The Atlanta Falcons are the 13th most valuable franchise in the National Football League, according to Forbes rankings released Sept. 20. The team, owned by The Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, ranked 15th in 2017 and 19th in 2016.
Its current valuation is $2.6 billion, a 5 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Forbes ranking.
Dallas Cowboys ($5 billion) and the New England Patriots ($3.8 billion) ranked first and second, according to the annual list. The Cowboys have topped the list for the past 12 years.
“The first year at the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a hit for the Falcons, with local NFL revenue up 70 percent by Forbes’ count. The team made news with its cheap concessions, like $2 hot dogs and sodas and $5 beers,” Forbes wrote.
Fans got to the stadium earlier and spent more money with prices 50 percent lower than the previous year, the publication reported. The cut in concession prices also “created goodwill with season ticket holders who were forced to pay personal seat licenses as high as $45,000 for the right to buy tickets. Some $200 million from bonds backed by the Atlanta hotel-motel tax revenue is going toward construction of the stadium, and around $700 million of additional dollars from the same tax will go toward costs of financing, operating and maintaining the stadium over 30 years. So giving a little back could go a long way with the faithful.”
Forbes also offered these statistics about the team: Blank paid $545 million for the team in 2002. It earned $451 million in revenue last season ($34 per fan) and had $113 million in operating income. It received $74 million in gate receipts and incurred $220 million in player expenses.