Photo: Real Madrid
Spanish soccer powerhouses Real Madrid and FC Barcelona ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in Forbes magazine’s 2014 list of the most valuable sports franchises on the planet.
The beautiful game dominates the top of the rankings, with Premier League club Manchester United in the No. 3 spot.
Forbes said Real Madrid and Barça, which both are owned by club members, are worth $3.44 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively, while United, owned by the Glazer family, has a value of $2.81 billion.
Real Madrid also was No. 1 on the 2013 list with a value of $3.3 billion, while the Red Devils were No. 2 and the Blaugrana came in at No. 3.
The New York Yankees, worth $2.5 billion, came in at No. 4 on this year’s list to rank as the most valuable non-soccer franchise.
Bayern Munich, which won the 2013 Champions League title and saw its club membership swell by almost 30,000 over the past year to 223,985, ranked seventh and was the biggest mover in the top 10, up from 12th place in 2013.
Arsenal was also in the top 20 at No. 16, down from No. 10 in 2013, but then there was a big drop-off, with the three other soccer clubs on the list - Chelsea, Manchester City and AC Milan - occupying slots 48 through 50.
Thirty of the franchises on the list were NFL teams, with the Dallas Cowboys ranking 5th. The Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars were only NFL franchises not in the global top 50 by team value, which are “enterprise values (equity plus debt) based on current venue deals,” the bi-weekly business magazine said.
Forbes said the average value of a top-50 sports franchise is currently $1.34 billion, up 8 percent from last year.
“The world’s richest people are valuing trophy sports properties at record levels,” the New York-based magazine said.
“Credit the massive wealth created in the stock market over the last five years, exploding TV rights fees and the limited number of teams available.”