The freshly validated Forbes team value estimates for the NFL are out, and there are two main stories: One, average team values have fallen for the first time on record, thanks to the sucky economy. And two, the New York Jets and Giants are worth more thanks to their new stadium, but the debt they took on for it puts them at risk if there’s a lockout in 2011:
Every team would suffer, but “a lockout would affect the Giants and Jets probably more so than any other NFL franchise,” [Forbes senior editor Kurt] Badenhausen said.
“The Giants’ and Jets’ built-in costs of servicing debt are so much higher. If we have a lockout, they still have to pay the interest on their debt, even if nobody’s buying a ticket.”
Of course, the other way to look at this is that here’s another benefit of teams putting up their own money for stadiums: They have an incentive to actually play football, instead of shutting down the sport every time they want to win a bargaining victory over the players’ union. Not that the Giants and Jets owners are likely to have that much sway over NFL labor tactics, but we can dream of world where franchises pay their own stadium debts, and take on their own risks…