Spanish Liga football club Real Madrid has retained its title as the world’s most valuable sports team, with football again dominating the upper echelons of Forbes’ annual study as American football’s NFL continues to account for the majority of entries in the top 50.
Real has been handed a valuation of $3.44bn (€2.53bn), up slightly from last year’s mark of $3.3bn, while English Premier League club Manchester United ($2.81bn) has slipped another place to third after having over $300m wiped from its valuation. This allowed Barcelona ($3.2bn) to move into second position through an increase of $600m – a development that means that football clubs continue to lock out the top three positions.
Forbes stressed the fact that NFL and Major League Baseball teams play and do business on a national scale, while Europe’s top football clubs operate on a global basis, as a key factor in Real, Barcelona and United’s positioning. Indeed, German Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich was the biggest mover in the top 10, jumping five spots to No.7 with a value of $1.85bn after claiming its fifth UEFA Champions League title in 2013.
The remainder of the top 10 was made up of MLB’s New York Yankees ($2.5bn), the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys ($2.3bn) and the Yankees’ fellow baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers ($2bn). NFL teams the New England Patriots ($1.8bn), Washington Redskins ($1.7bn) and New York Giants ($1.55bn) complete the top 10.
NFL teams make up the bulk of the top 50 with only the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars failing to make the cut out of the league’s 32 franchises. Forbes said the average team in the top 50 is worth $1.34bn, up eight per cent over last year. There are 38 teams worth $1bn versus 33 last year. Minimum entry for the top 50 was $856m, the valuation of Italian Serie A football club AC Milan, compared to $586m four years ago.
Forbes bases its rankings on enterprise values (equity plus debt) based on current venue deals – unless a new venue is pending.