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Forbes ranks Bills 29th most-valuable NFL club

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills stood their ground in Forbes magazine's annual NFL valuations estimates, but the financial digest called them "arguably the most troubled franchise."

Forbes estimated the Bills are worth $805 million, up 2 percent from a year ago. Their value ranked 29th in the league, same as last year, breaking a streak of three straight years they slipped down the chart. The teams below them are the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The valuation is the Bills' highest since 2009, when Forbes appraised them at $909 million.

What Forbes had to say specific to the Bills:

The Bills are arguably the most troubled franchise in the NFL. In both 2010 and 2011 the team had three games blacked out on local television because it could not sell out Ralph Wilson Stadium 72 hours before kickoff. The small-market team, one of the league's hottest tickets 20 years ago, has trouble getting fans to come to Ralph Wilson Stadium despite the second-lowest ticket price ($59) in the NFL last season. Fortunately, the Bills are subsidized $7 million a year by county and state taxpayers for stadium operating and capital improvement costs. The team's lease expires after this season, and the Bills want taxpayers to pay for $200 million to $250 million in stadium upgrades as part of the team’s next lease. The state is considering issuing 30-year bonds to finance the renovation.

The Dallas Cowboys ranked first this year at an estimated $2.1 billion. The New England Patriots were second at $1.635 billion and the Washington Redskins third at $1.6 billion.

To round out the AFC East, the New York Jets were estimated sixth at $1.284 billion and the Miami Dolphins 15th at $1.06 billion.

Forbes estimated the Bills with $240 million in revenue, ranking 30th in the NFL in that category. The Bills ranked 18th in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) at $29.4 million.

A history of Forbes' valuations of the Bills, with links to the magazine's report that year:

2012 -- $805 million (29th)
2011 -- $792 million (29th)
2010 -- $799 million (28th)
2009 -- $909 million (26th)
2008 -- $885 million (27th)
2007 -- $821 million (27th)
2006 -- $756 million (25th)
2005 -- $708 million (25th)
2004 -- $637 million (24th)
2003 -- $564 million (26th)
2002 -- $458 million (25th)
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |