Real Madrid has beaten Manchester United to become the most valuable football team in the world

Real Madrid is the most valuable football team in the world — and the second most valuable team in any sport — according to a new valuation by Forbes.

The magazine says the Spanish club is worth $3.65 billion (£2.76 billion), up 12% from last year. Real’s rival Barcelona comes third on the list of all sports teams, while Manchester United just makes the top five.

Forbes says the key to Real’s placing was its huge annual revenues, which came to $694 million (£525 million) — the highest of any sports franchise. A $1.6 billion (£1.2 billion) ten-year tie-in deal with Adidas also keeps the money rolling in, as does endorsement deals with star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently won Euro 2016 with Portugal.

The list varies slightly from a recent soccer team valuation report from accounting firm KPMG, which placed Real Madrid and United joint-first and Barcelona third. But Real has since won a Champions League title while United did not even qualify for next season’s competition, which should have been enough to push Real to the top.

Barcelona, meanwhile, benefits from a lucrative deal with Nike, said to be worth $175 million (£132 million) a year. Renovations to its already huge Camp Nou stadium will also increase matchday revenues even further, making it one of the most profitable venues in the game.

Here are the top 5 most valuable sports teams in Forbes’ list:

  • Dallas Cowboys — American Football, $4 billion (£3 billion)
  • Real Madrid — Soccer, $3.65 billion (£2.77 billion)
  • Barcelona — Soccer, $3.55 billion (£2.69 billion)
  • New York Yankees — Baseball, $3.4 billion (£2.58 billion)
  • Manchester United — Soccer, $3.32 billion (£2.52 billion)

Forbes notes that the biggest drop in the list was Ferrari’s Formula One team — said to be worth $1.35 billion (£1 billion) — which actually stayed flat from last year but fell out of the top 50 because other major sports teams increased so much.

In fact, it has never been a better time to own a big sports side: the average “franchise” in the top 50 is worth $2.2 billion (£1.66 billion) compared to $1.75 billion (£1.32 billion) just a year ago — an annual rise of over 20%.

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