Manchester United is World’s Most Valuable Sports Franchise


The rich keep getting richer when it comes to the world’s top soccer teams, especially if they’re based in Europe. The 32 teams that qualified for the European Champions League, which is the richest annual soccer tournament on the planet, split a total of $1.14 billion last season, which was a 23 per cent boost from the year before due to a 25 per cent increase in broadcasting revenue. Of course, the further a team goes in the event the more money it earns.

This means the best teams in Europe are raking in money each season to broaden the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The average value of the top 20 soccer clubs rose to approximately $770 million while revenue climbed 23 per cent to a $319 million average for each team. Five of the top European teams are worth at least $1 billion. These are Manchester United and Arsenal of England, Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain and Germany’s Bayern Munich.

All of these teams made it to the last 16 of the Champions League last season, with Barcelona beating Manchester United 3-1 in the final. But along with their direct earnings from league and tournament play, these teams are raking in millions of dollars in merchandise and sponsorship deals around the world. Manchester United, which is owned by American Malcolm Glazer and his family, is ranked as the most valuable soccer team and sports franchise in the world at $2.24 billion by Forbes Magazine, which is 20 per cent more than last year.

It’s estimated that United has a fan base around the world of about 330 million people and this is why the franchise is worth approximately $385 million more than the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. United earned $192 million last year in broadcasting revenue alone, which was a jump of 22 per cent from the year before. Their appearance in the Champions League Final earned them another $80 million.

Real Madrid isn’t too far behind though, as the Spanish club earned $59 million for making it to the semi finals of the Champions League and is now worth a cool $1.88 billion, which is 29 per cent more than a year ago. Madrid will likely see those numbers rise quite a bit next year as they’ve reached the semi finals of the Champions League again this year, along with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and look set to win the Spanish domestic league.

Barcelona is worth a total of $1.31 billion, which is a 34 per cent increase from the previous year. They earned $77 million from the Champions League last season and their $266 million broadcasting revenue was the tops in Europe. England’s Arsenal is rated at $1.29 billion, an eight per cent increase from last year, with $364 million in revenue.

Bayern Munich had a disappointing 2010/11 season by finishing third in the German league and getting knocked out of the Champions League in the early stages. However, the club’s $258 million was the best in commercial revenue and the team is worth $1.24 billion, which is an 18 per cent increase from last year.

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