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The 10 Most Valuable Professional American Sports Franchises

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There are 123 franchises across the "big four" North American professional sports leagues -- the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. That number will soon move to 124, when Seattle's expansion franchise joins the NHL in 2021-22.

Many sports owners simply care about nothing more than money. Without mentioning any names, plenty of the "big four" sports franchise owners are pleased enough if fans are buying tickets, and as long as they're netting hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis.

RELATED: The 10 Richest MLB Free Agent Contracts Of All Time

Forbes recently listed the value of each NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA franchise for 2019. So which ones stand out as the wealthiest of them all? Here is a look at the 10 most expensive sports franchises in America.

*All financial and value statistics are courtesy of Forbes*

10 Washington Redskins ($3.4 Billion)

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The Washington Redskins have consistently ranked among the NFL's worst teams under owner Dan Snyder, who took over in 1999. But despite their many on-field struggles and off-the-field controversies, the Redskins are still among the wealthiest American sports franchises.

Washington has a current value of $3.4 billion, which is up 10 percent from a year ago. This includes $493 million in revenue, and they have a whopping $120 million in operating income.

The Redskins, however, faced serious attendance issues in 2019. Their stadium was often taken over by fans of visiting teams. If the Redskins can improve their on-field product, they'll sell more tickets - and that will go a long way toward increasing the team's value.

9 Chicago Bears ($3.45 Billion)

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Like the Redskins, the Chicago Bears haven't experienced much success over the past two decades. They only made the playoffs twice in the 2010s decade (2010 and 2018), but the rich history and the big market have shaped the Bears into of football's most valuable franchises.

The Bears are owned by Virginia Halas McCaskey, who inherited the team from her late father, Chicago sports legend George Halas. The Bears stand as the NFL's sixth-most valuable franchise at $3.45 billion.

8 Tie: Golden State Warriors & San Francisco 49ers ($3.5 Billion)

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Two teams based in the Bay Area share the same value.

Thanks to an incredible run that saw them reach five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 -- winning it all three times -- the Golden State Warriors have seen their value increase mightily over a short period.

The organization is worth $3.5 billion, having increased by 13 percent over just one year. The Warriors -- who won it all in 2015, 2017 and 2018 --  moved into the brand new Chase Center at the start of the 2019-20 season. With key players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green signed long-term, the Warriors have time to add even more championships to their dynasty.

Only two NBA teams are more valuable than the Warriors right now.

RELATED: 10 Highest Paid NBA Players For 2019

As mentioned in the Warriors' entry, they saw a 13 percent value change over one year. Well, the historic 49ers organization earned a 15 percent change, moving their value up to $3.5 billion.

San Francisco reached three straight NFC Championship games from 2011 to '13, while earning a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. The franchise is relevant again thanks to the work of head coach Kyle Shanahan and a stout front seven, and the 49ers finished with the top seed in the NFC This year at 13-3.

7 Los Angeles Lakers: ($3.7 Billion)

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After winning the NBA Championship in 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers embarked on one of their most embarrassing stretch runs in franchise history. They only won a total of two playoff series' over the next three years, and they were among the NBA's worst teams every year from 2014 to 2019.

But the organization is turning a corner, thanks to the arrivals of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers are currently among the favorites to win the NBA Championship in 2020.

Playing in a huge market, with a major worldwide following, the Lakers are unsurprisingly the second-most valuable NBA franchise at $3.7 billion.

6 Los Angeles Rams ($3.8 Billion)

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The Rams were consistently among football's worst teams during their final decade in St. Louis. But the franchise has seen new life since relocating to Los Angeles in 2016 -- recording three winning seasons while capturing two NFC West division titles and a Super Bowl LII appearance.

Owned by Stan Kroenke, the Rams are worth $3.8 billion -- which places them fourth among all NFL franchises. The team will move into the brand new SoFi Stadium in 2020, which they'll share with the Los Angeles Chargers.

5 New York Giants ($3.9 Billion)

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Playing in the media capital of the world, the New York Giants are unsurprisingly among America's most valuable franchises -- even though they haven't given their fans a lot to celebrate in recent years.

The Giants have won two Super Bowls in the past 12 years -- in the 2007 and 2011 seasons. But the franchise is constantly changing head coaches and front office personnel, all to no avail.

Owned by John Mara and Steve Tisch, the Giants are the third-most valuable NFL franchise, not far behind the second-most expensive. We'll get to that one soon.

4 New York Knicks ($4 Billion)

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They're widely considered to be the biggest laughingstock in the NBA, and for good reason. Despite deep-pocketed owners and the appeal of a giant market, the New York Knicks continue to be mired in total dysfunction.

RELATED: The 10 Richest MLB Free Agent Contracts Of All Time

But it's hard for team executives, James Nolan and the Madison Square Garden Company -- the official owners of the Knicks -- to complain. They're the most valuable NBA franchise at a fairly comfortable margin ($4 billion). They saw an 11 percent one-year value increase.

Now, if they could just start winning again...

3 New England Patriots ($4.1 Billion)

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No sports franchise has had more success in the 21st century than the New England Patriots. Dating back to 2001, they've won six Super Bowls, nine AFC Championships and oh, they've only missed the postseason twice.

With so much success under the legendary trio of owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots have enjoyed historic success that you'll simply never see again.

As such, it's no surprise that the Patriots are among the most valuable franchises in America. They're worth $4.1 billion, receiving an eight percent one-year value increase. As long as the winning ways continue, the Patriots' value will only increase over time.

2 New York Yankees ($4.6 Billion)

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The Patriots may be America's most successful teams of the 21st century, but the New York Yankees are the greatest team in the history of professional sports. Period.

This team has won 27 World Series Championships. No other professional sports team in America comes close to that. The Yankees, by the way, haven't recorded a losing season since 1992 (!).

With so much history, a wealthy television contract, so many superstar players plus a giant fanbase and market, the Yankees are far and away baseball's most valuable franchise at $4.6 billion. To put it into perspective, the Los Angeles Dodgers are a distant second at $3.3 billion.

1 Dallas Cowboys ($5.5 Billion)

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The Dallas Cowboys are perhaps the most polarizing franchise in North American sports. Hate them or love them, no U.S.-based club is worth more than "America's Team."

Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys for $140 million back in 1989. Today, the Cowboys are worth a whopping $5.5 billion -- almost $1 billion more than the Yankees, the second-most valuable franchise in America.

We'd say that Jones has made a pretty good investment. You may not agree with his decisions as a hands-on owner/acting GM of the Cowboys, but the man sure knows how to do business.

Next: The 10 Highest Paid Quarterbacks In The NFL For 2019

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