There's big money in professional sports these days - we're talking billions of dollars! Do you know which teams are the most valuable? The graphs in this blog will show you...

I recently saw a bar chartÂ on dadaviz.com showing the world's most valuable sports teams. It was the right kind of graph for this type of comparison, and it showed interesting data ... but their use of color really didn't work for me. Here's a screen-capture of their graph. Try to pick a color in the legend (such as Football or Formula1) and quickly identify all those colored bars in the graph - I bet you can't!

So I found the data source (forbes.com), entered the data into a SAS dataset, and created my own version of the graph. I kept the layout the same as the original ... but instead of showing all the colors together, I created a separate graph for each sport.

Here's my graph for basketball, for example (click it to see the full size interactive version):

And here are links to all my graphs: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, and Formula1. Note that you can hover your mouse over the bars to see the team name and dollar value.

Did your favorite team make the list? What team sports do you think will be moving up, or down, the list in the future?

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The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 25 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

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1. No surprise that my NY Yankees are at the top of the list for baseball. But I was wondering about the horizontal axis -- with the repeating billion dollar amounts (1,1,2,2,etc.) - perhaps a rounding issue?

• Robert Allison on

Sharp eye, Lisa! I had used the dollar5.0 format, but I should have gone out to one decimal place (dollar5.1) to avoid the duplicate integers along the axis - I've corrected it now. Thanks for pointing out the problem!

2. I'm surprised to see only one hockey team making the list! Not that I would expect to see my favorite team here (Carolina Hurricanes), but I would think the NY Rangers would make it!

With the NHL planning some expansion teams to stake more claim in the U.S., we might see more hockey teams on this list in a few years.

• Robert Allison on

I guess ice hockey is still a bit of a 'niche' sport, preferred by people who have cold/icy winters, or 'rich' countries who have enough money to build indoor ice hockey rinks(?)

And perhaps it's not coincidence that the team ranked #1 in the world plays the sport that is probably the least expensive to play - soccer! :)