Man United Named World's Most Valuable Sports Team


Wayne Rooney, Manchester United 

Manchester United Named World's Most Valuable Sports Team

Forbes estimates Manchester United is now worth $2.23 billion, 19% more than No. 2 Real Madrid, which is worth $1.88 billion. Man United claims to have 659 million fans worldwide.

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Several England Premiership and European soccer clubs have been named along with 3 New York Yankees ($1.85 billion)3 Dallas Cowboys ($1.85 billion)5 Washington Redskins ($1.56 billion)6 Los Angeles Dodgers ($1.4 billion)6 New England Patriots ($1.4 billion), and 9 New York Giants ($1.3 billion).

Soccer clubs hold the top two spots among the world’s most valuable franchises, but pro football teams in the USA dominate the rest of the top 50. All 32 NFL teams made the cut, led by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are the kings of the NFL party due to their $1.2 billion stadium, which generates more than $100 million annually from premium seating and nearly $60 million from sponsors including AR & T, B of A, Ford Motor Co., and PepsiCo.

1 Manchester United ($2.23 billion) Man United are the world's most valuable sports team and have a long tradition of great play on the pitch. Manchester United has captured a record 19 English Premiership titles and claims to have 659 million fans worldwide. Next up for the Red Devils: an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange to reduce debt from Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the club in 2005. Owner: Glazer family.

2 Real Madrid ($1.88 billion) - Real Madrid had the highest revenues of any soccer team during the 2010-11 season and was the most profitable team in all of sports during 2011, with operating income of $214 million. Club members have owned and operated the team since it was founded in 1902. Real won its record 32nd La Liga title in 2012, led by its star winger Cristiano Ronaldo (above, center). Owner: Club members

8 Barcelona ($1.31 billion) - Barcelona has won two UEFA Champions League titles over the past four seasons, riding the golden feet of Lionel Messi (above). Barca's home stadium, Camp Nou, has the biggest seating capacity of top European teams at 99,400. The team's broadcasting revenue of $266 million was tops among all soccer teams in 2011. Owner: Club members

10 Arsenal ($1.29 billion) - Arsenal has won the second-most FA Cups (10), just one fewer than Manchester United. Match day revenue of $150 million in 2011 was fourth highest among soccer teams.The Gunners' commercial revenue was $74 million in 2011, but got a boost last season due to new sponsorship agreements with brewer Carlsberg and Betsson, the gaming company. Owner: Stan Kroenke

Manchester United fans will once again get a chance to own a piece of the iconic club as the Glazer family filed plans this month for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The Glazers took the club private in 2005 in a leveraged buyout worth $1.47 billion. (The team traded on the Londo Stock Exchange before then.)

Don’t expect to be picking the next manager if you buy shares. The Glazers intend to keep control of the club through a dual-class share structure in which the Glazers’ stock will be worth 10 votes apiece, while investors will get one vote for each of their shares. Dual-class shares are unusual, but a number of high-profile companies, including Facebook, LinkedIn and The New York Times, use them to retain control while they sell ownership stakes to the public. With the offering, the team can reduce its hefty debt load, which stood at $663 million as of March.

Manchester United has a host of lucrative sponsorships in place including Insurer Aon who pay $31 million a year to put its name on the team’s jerseys in a deal that runs through 2014. Last year, DHL Express inked a four-year deal with the club worth a reported $62 million to sponsor Manchester United’s practice jerseys. It is the first case of a practice jersey sponsorship deal for soccer in the U.K. Nike manages the team’s merchandise sales and the agreement is worth a minimum of $39 million annually for Manchester United based on overall sales in a deal through 2015.


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