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Cowboys replace Redskins as NFL's most valuable franchise

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.