The MLS follows a franchise model, but which of the franchises are most valuable?
Teams in the MLS have seen their value sky-rocket in recent seasons as demand for new franchises radically outstrips supply.
MLS now boasts an average game attendance of 18,611, more than both the NBA and the NHL, and the average franchise in the league is now worth $103 million – a 175% increase in the last five years. The growth has led Don Garber, the league’s commissioner, to state that he wants to increase the league to 24 teams by 2020.
Amidst all the success, which are the top five most valuable franchises?
5: Toronto FC – $121 million
Opened in 2007, Toronto was boosted by being the league’s first franchise based in Canada. Their best season came in 2011 as they won the Canadian Championship and made it to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
4: Houston Dynamo – $125 million
Two-time Champions League semi-finals Houston benefit from being the only side from the Southern US to play in the Eastern Conference. Their local rivals FC Dallas play in the West.
3: Portland Timbers – $141 million
The legacy of the Timbers name have helped Portland grow a significant fan-base. The team first existed in the ill-fated North American Soccer League of the 1970s. More recently, it replaced the USL Pro’s (the US’s third division) side of the same name.
2: LA Galaxy – $170 million
One of the MLS’s founder clubs, David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy in 2007 heralded a new era for the MLS. They have since added several superstars on their way to becoming one of the league’s most successful sides with four league titles, four Supporters Shields and a Champions League trophy.
1: Seattle Sounders – $175 million
Based in the North-West of the country along with the Timbers, Seattle Sounders are a relative newcomer to the league. Formed in 2007 they have grown quickly and have already won the US Open Cup four times and the Supporters Shield once.