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Colts are 21st Most Valuable Sports Franchise, Per Forbes

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According to Forbes's 2014 rankings, the Colts are valued at $1.2 billion dollars, ranking them the 21st most valuable sports franchise overall and the 11th most valuable NFL franchise.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Every year Forbes releases their rankings of the most valuable sports franchise, and they recently released their list of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises in 2014.  The Indianapolis Colts were the 21st most valuable franchise overall, being valued at $1.2 billion - tying them with the MLB's Chicago Cubs and racing's Ferrari.

Furthermore, the Colts were listed as the 11th most valuable NFL franchise.  The Cowboys (5th overall, $2.3 billion), Patriots (8th overall, $1.8 billion), Redskins (9th overall, $1.7 billion), Giants (10th overall, $1.55 billion), Texans (12th overall, $1.45 billion), Jets (14th overall, $1.38 billion), Eagles (17th overall, $1.314 billion), Bears (18th overall, $1.252 billion), Ravens (19th overall, $1.227 billion), and 49ers (20th overall, $1.224 billion) ranked ahead of the Colts.  All but two NFL franchises appeared on the list of the top 50, with just the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders not making the cut.

Colts owner Jim Irsay assumed oversight of day-to-day operations of the team in 1995 but it wasn't until his father's death in 1997 that he took over ownership of the team.  He is the sole owner of the team, meaning that he owns one hundred percent of the franchise.  Under the younger Irsay's leadership, the Colts have become one of the most respected and stable franchises in the NFL, with two franchise quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck leading the way.  In 17 years as the team's owner, Irsay's Colts have compiled a 168-104 regular season record with 13 playoff appearances, 2 AFC Championship victories, and 1 Super Bowl victory.  At one point last decade Irsay's team won 10 or more games in 9 straight seasons and they set the NFL record for most wins in a single decade.  Now, despite moving on from the Peyton Manning Era, the Colts are firmly established with another great franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck.

Despite having the number one overall pick twice during Irsay's tenure, the Colts nailed both picks (Manning and Luck) and have become one of the most stable organizations in sports.  Irsay has had just three general managers and 5 head coaches during his tenure, although one of those GMs and one of those coaches were both inherited by Irsay from his father and stuck around just one year under the owner.

It's also a bit interesting to look at the numbers compared to the recent sale of the NBA's Clippers, as Forbes valued them at $525 million last year yet they sold for $2 billion - meaning they sold for nearly four times what Forbes valued them at last year.  For the Colts, using a similar scale (and keep in mind that all situations are different in this subject), the Colts could sell for $4.8 billion dollars.  That's a lot, and while that most likely wouldn't be the price they would actually sell for, using the "Clippers scale" it would be.  That said, there are no current plans to sell the team, as Irsay is still the team's owner and then the plan is for his daughters to take over control of the team from him at some point.