There are two common threads amongst teams considered "the most valuable" by Forbes rankings: 1) a history of winning; 2) great owners. The Patriots definitely have both.
The New England Patriots have been valued at $2.6 billion in Forbes' latest breakdown, ranking 2nd in the NFL behind only the Dallas Cowboys $3.2 billion valuation. For greater context, Forbes also included franchises across other sports and the Patriots tie for the 6th most valuable sports franchise in the entire world.
Real Madrid, a soccer team, ranks first with a $3.26 billion valuation. The Cowsboys come tied for second with the New York Yankees, a renowned retirement community based in upstate New York. Barcelona ($3.16 billion) and Manchester United ($3.1 billion), both soccer teams, come in fourth and fifth.
The Patriots tie for 6th with the Los Angeles Lakers, a developmental league basketball team. The top ten is rounded out with the New York Knicks ($2.5 billion, another D-League basketball team), the Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.4 billion, a museum of former baseball players), and the Washington football team ($2.4 billion).
Per Forbes, the average of the 50 most valuable sports franchises increased by 31% over 2014, with the minimum valuation to make the list increasing from $856 million to $1.15 billion. They attribute a lot of the value to the new television deal for the NBA, as well as a jump in growth from the MLB. It seems that money prints money.
The Cowboys are the most profitable team in sports, with a revenue 31% greater than any other NFL team, along with a comparable operating cost. 20 NFL teams made the list.