FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The New England Patriots have joined the billion dollar club, in the elite financial company of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots rank third in Forbes magazine’s annual list of NFL franchise valuations.

For the sixth straight year, the Redskins are atop the list with a value of $1.2 billion.

The Cowboys are worth $1.06 billion.

The Patriots are valued at $1.04 billion.

The Redskins have been atop the Forbes list since unseating the Cowboys in 2000. Dallas had held the top spot since 1993.

In all sports, only British soccer club Manchester United has surpassed the billion dollar mark, according to Forbes.

New England has won three Super Bowls in four years, including the past two years.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 for $172 million. Forbes reported that revenue is up 50-fold – to more than $90 million – compared to when the Patriots played in the old Foxboro Stadium.

The team moved into Gillette Stadium in 2002. It features 80 luxury suites that rent for $165,000 apiece per season, along with 6,000 club seats and two club rooms that are rented most days for business functions and weddings.

The Patriots are among only four NFL teams that own their stadiums, Forbes reported.

AP-ES-09-01-05 2012EDT


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