Ranked: The Most Expensive Sports Team Sales in History – Visual Capitalist

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The ten most expensive professional sports team sales shown as sized bubbles. The Washington Commanders sale is number one at $6.1 billion.
After a record-setting year in 2022, professional sports team sales are on an uptick yet again.
The tentative $6.05 billion Washington Commanders sale, already approved by other NFL owners, will be the highest amount paid for a sports team once completed.
This graphic from Sam Parker shows how the Commanders’ April 2023 deal measures up against the biggest sports team sales in history, using data from the Wall Street Journal and CBS Sports.
Valuations have become significantly larger in the last couple of years, with the largest sales all occurring after 2010. Here are the 10 most highly-priced sales for a professional sports team franchise globally.
The Washington Commanders sale takes the top spot at $6.1 billion, even though it could still be de-throned. It’s been reported that a $7 billion dollar bid for the team is still in play as well.
Dan Snyder, the current owner of the team, is one of the world’s richest people in sports. He purchased the team for $800 million in 1999 and, if the $6.1 billion sale completes, will have made a cumulative return of over 650%.
Chelsea Football Club is the only non-U.S. sale on the list. The sports team was previously owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch who was subject to sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was forced to sell the team.
Hedge fund billionaire Todd Boehly, who was part of the consortium that purchased Chelsea, is also part owner of number 10 on the list: the LA Dodgers. Boehly is said to have helped with one of the “most dramatic turnarounds in North American sports” through his purchase of the Dodgers in 2012 for $2.0 billion, with the team wining the MLB World Series in 2020.
Will any sale top the Washington Commanders number? NFL teams specifically are some of the world’s most valuable teams, so the sale of a team such as the Dallas Cowboys or Los Angeles Rams could be worth more.
Other competition could come from soccer teams, including Chelsea rivals Manchester United or Liverpool. Manchester United’s owners put the club up for sale in 2022, hoping for a valuation of £5 billion to £6 billion ($6.2 billion to $7.5 billion).
Sports teams haven’t always collected such sky-high prices like the Washington Commanders sale. In fact, sports teams used to be the investment of choice for eccentric entrepreneurs and were considered money-losing propositions.
So what’s changed? There are a number of factors driving high valuations and passionate interest from billionaires:
Beyond these factors, perhaps the biggest driver of sports team value is the prestige associated with owning one.
“Sports teams are a bit of a vanity asset, like owning a Picasso, and the highest bidder is going to be a very rich person who wants to own the team so they (can) call themselves an owner of a sports team.” — Stephen Dodson, Portfolio Manager of Bretton Fund
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
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The global bond market stands at $133 trillion in value. Here are the major players in bond markets worldwide.
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In 2022, the global bond market totaled $133 trillion.
As one of the world’s largest capital markets, debt securities have grown sevenfold over the last 40 years. Fueling this growth are government and corporate debt sales across major economies and emerging markets. Over the last three years, China’s bond market has grown 13% annually.
Based on estimates from the Bank for International Statements, this graphic shows the largest bond markets in the world.
Valued at over $51 trillion, the U.S. has the largest bond market globally.
Government bonds made up the majority of its debt market, with over $26 trillion in securities outstanding. In 2022, the Federal government paid $534 billion in interest on this debt.
China is second, at 16% of the global total. Local commercial banks hold the greatest share of its outstanding bonds, while foreign ownership remains fairly low. Foreign interest in China’s bonds slowed in 2022 amid geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and lower yields.

Bond Market Rank Country / Region Total Debt Outstanding Share of Total Bond Market
1 ?? U.S. $51.3T 39%
2 ?? China $20.9T 16%
3 ?? Japan $11.0T 8%
4 ?? France $4.4T 3%
5 ?? United Kingdom $4.3T 3%
6 ?? Canada $4.0T 3%
7 ?? Germany $3.7T 3%
8 ?? Italy $2.9T 2%
9 ?? Cayman Islands* $2.7T 2%
10 ?? Brazil* $2.4T 2%
11 ?? South Korea* $2.2T 2%
12 ?? Australia $2.2T 2%
13 ?? Netherlands $1.9T 1%
14 ?? Spain $1.9T 1%
15 ?? India* $1.3T 1%
16 ?? Ireland $1.0T 1%
17 ?? Mexico* $1.0T 1%
18 ?? Luxembourg $0.9T 1%
19 ?? Belgium $0.7T >1%
20 ?? Russia* $0.7T >1%

*Represent countries where total debt securities were not reported by national authorities. These figures are the sum of domestic debt securities reported by national authorities and/or international debt securities compiled by BIS.
Data as of Q3 2022.
As the above table shows, Japan has the third biggest debt market. Japan’s central bank owns a massive share of its government bonds. Central bank ownership hit a record 50% as it tweaked its yield curve control policy that was introduced in 2016. The policy was designed to help boost inflation and prevent interest rates from falling. As inflation began to rise in 2022 and bond investors began selling, it had to increase its yield to spur demand and liquidity. The adjustment sent shockwaves through financial markets.
In Europe, France is home to the largest bond market at $4.4 trillion in total debt, surpassing the United Kingdom by roughly $150 billion.
Like central banks around the world, commercial banks are key players in bond markets.
In fact, commercial banks are among the top three buyers of U.S. government debt. This is because commercial banks will reinvest client deposits into interest-bearing securities. These often include U.S. Treasuries, which are highly liquid and one of the safest assets globally.
As we can see in the chart below, the banking sector often surpasses an economy’s total GDP.
Banking Sector
As interest rates have risen sharply since 2022, the price of bonds has been pushed down, given their inverse relationship. This has raised questions about what type of bonds banks hold.
In the U.S., commercial banks hold $4.2 trillion in Treasury bonds and other government securities. For large U.S. banks, these holdings account for almost 24% of assets on average. They make up an average 15% of assets for small banks in 2023. Since mid-2022, small banks have reduced their bond holdings due to interest rate increases.
As higher rates reverberate across the banking system and wider economy, it may expose further strains on global bond markets which have expanded rapidly in an era of dovish monetary policy and ultra-low interest rates.
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