Every year, Forbes releases information on the Top 50 most valuable sports teams in terms of worth. Their list was unveiled today, and the Cleveland Browns were valued at $987 million, or the No. 34 most valued sports team in the world. In terms of the NFL, the Browns are the 21st-ranked team in the league.
Truck stop magnate Haslam bought the Browns from Randy Lerner for a price of $1.05 billion. Haslam bought 70% of the team in October and will buy Lerner's remaining stake in 2015, which makes the net present value of the transaction less than $1 billion. The FBI is investigating Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J, for possible fraud.
The Browns are worth more in 2013 ($987 million) than they were in 2012 ($977 million), but they did not grow at the same rate that some other teams have grown. At $977 million in 2012, the Browns were ranked at No. 30 overall, so they dropped four spots in 2013. They also dropped one spot in terms of NFL teams.
Forbes also released information on how effectively teams are using social media to reach fans. The Browns have 0.8 million followers on Twitter and Facebook combined, which pales in comparison to teams like the Cowboys (6 million), Steelers (5.4 million), Patriots (4.7 million), Saints (3.3 million), Giants (3.1 million), and Raiders (2.2 million). Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer broke it down even further:
According to Forbes, #Browns also have 0.8 million combined Facebook & Twitter followers. Only 6 franchises among top-50 have fewer.— Tom Reed (@treed1919) July 15, 2013
The Browns have a long way to go, but perhaps people like Kevin Griffin, who is responsible for fan engagement, can help jump-start things a bit from a previous regime that largely ignored social media.