NEW YORK -- The Dallas Cowboys wrested the title of the NFL's most valuable franchise from the rival Redskins, knocking Washington off the top of the list for the first time in eight years, according to Forbes magazine's annual survey.
Thanks to a new $1 billion stadium set to open in 2009, the Cowboys' value increased by 28 percent -- by far the largest jump among NFL teams this year -- to $1.5 billion. They climbed from third to first in the rankings, leapfrogging the Redskins ($1.467 billion) and the New England Patriots ($1.199 billion).
The new stadium added about $350 million to the Cowboys' value. Jerry Jones can now boast that he owns the world's most valuable sports franchise, according to Forbes.
"Our organization's incentive has always been to have our franchise recognized as being the best, both on and off the field,'' Jones said. "This is recognition of the fans and the many constituencies who have helped build the Dallas Cowboys.''
The Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles again round out the top five and remain the only other franchises worth more than $1 billion.
Both New York teams also enjoyed big jumps in the rankings because of a planned stadium. The Giants moved from 15th to eighth with a 9 percent increase to $974 million. The Jets went from 19th to 10th with a 10 percent improvement to $967 million.
Their jointly owned, $1.3 billion facility is scheduled to open in 2010. The stadium added about $50 million to each franchise's value. That number is smaller than the Cowboys' because the venue isn't as far along. Forbes expects that the two teams' rankings will continue to climb as the stadium nears completion.
The Cleveland Browns were the only franchise whose value decreased. They rank ninth at $969 million, down from $970 million.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press