Atlanta United may have fallen at the final hurdle in its quest to repeat as MLS champions, but the team did stay on top in at least one regard. This morning Forbes magazine published its annual valuations of MLS teams. Forbes first included Atlanta (and Minnesota United) in the list last year, not having adequate data to value either team in their inaugural seasons.
Atlanta took first place year, and solidified that ranking this year, with the team’s value skyrocketing. Initially valued at $330 million, Forbes now believes the team to be worth a whopping $500 million, an impressive 52% increase in value over just 12 months. The league as a whole is increasing in value at a very healthy rate, with the 23 teams in existence both seasons adding 30% to their value on average. The 24 current teams are worth a combined $7.5 billion. Atlanta’s gain didn’t quite match LAFC’s 56%, not surprising given that team’s stellar season. LA’s other team, the Galaxy, came in third with a 50% increase in value. No other team came coming close
Also good news for Atlanta is that revenue soared from an estimated $47 million in 2017 to $78 million in 2018 (2019 numbers obviously aren’t in yet), which suggests to me that the 2017 number was probably low. United also earned an operating profit of $7 million, a $9 million improvement over 2017’s estimated $2 million loss. That puts Atlanta squarely at the top of the profit rankings as well, in a league that aggregated a $105 million operating loss (only 7 teams ran at a profit).
By comparison, Forbes’ current valuation of the Atlanta Falcons is $2.76 billion, increasing at an annual 6% rate. At the current rates of return, United would surpass the Falcons in value in less than 5 years. We can only dream.