Tight credit and the recession-driven scarcity of buyers and investors slashed the value of eight NFL teams this year, Forbes reports. It’s the first time in a decade that even one team has seen a decline. Though the average team value held steady at $1 billion, Oakland led the losers, shedding 7% of its value. The recession has been kinder to some—the top-valued Cowboys tacked on 2%—but things are likely to get worse.
The NFL recently extended many lucrative television contracts through 2013, but the tough economic situation has eroded the league’s bargaining position, and the deals allow for annual fee increases of just 2%, the slimmest ever. Add to that an expected contract dispute in 2010 that could see a lockout, and the plight of some teams could worsen. Still, owners can revel in the now: the third-best year in NFL history saw revenue increase 7% while player costs went up only 4%.