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Toronto FC rises to fourth in MLS rich list

Forbes’ latest list of the league’s most valuable teams cements the Reds’ status as an emerging power.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Stars, seats and success are behind Toronto FC’s rise to fourth in Forbes’ latest ranking of the most-valuable Major League Soccer clubs.

Only the Seattle Sounders, L.A. Galaxy and New York City FC sit above the Reds in the rich list, with the club now valued at $245 million.

TFC posted a league-leading $9m operating loss (as estimated by Forbes) last year but will hope that is temporary, with revenue rising to $38m - good, again, for fourth in the league and in contention for ‘best of the rest’ beyond Seattle and L.A.

“I believe that all those investments are actually going to pay off as our business and revenues are growing,” president Bill Manning told the Star of the Reds’ spending. “That’s how the organization is looking at it.”

Here’s Forbes’ Chris Smith on TFC’s growth:

[TFC] recently made a $150 million stadium renovation that expanded permanent seating to 30,000, and this year it ranks fourth in average home game attendance. Not to mention the massive payroll investments are paying off. Last year superstar striker Sebastian Giovinco won league MVP in his first season with the team. This year TFC is in the hunt for the top seed in the East, trailing first place NYCFC by just a single point through the first week of September.

“This franchise is absolutely heading in the right direction, both on the field and off the field,” Manning added. “It was nice to see that Forbes recognized we’re one of the franchises that’s brand has really grown.”

League-wide, the average MLS franchise is now worth $185m - rises of 18% from last year, 80% from 2013 and 400% from Forbes’ first list in 2008.

Elsewhere in Canada, the Montreal Impact ($135m) and Vancouver Whitecaps ($128m) came in further down the list at 16th and 17th respectively.