If you needed further proof that professional athletics is a major global corporate enterprise, look no further than the latest annual list of the World's 50 most valuable sports teams, just released by Forbes.
The top 10 teams on the Forbes list are collectively worth over $23 billion, with the magazine valuing clubs based on enterprise values (equity plus debt) and current stadium deals.
Only four National Football League teams made the cut, along with two Major League Baseball teams. The rest, including the list's top three, are professional soccer clubs in Europe. Following are the top 10 most valuable franchises, along with their owners and current value:
- Real Madrid (soccer), club members, $3.4 billion
- Barcelona (soccer), club members, $3.2 billion
- Manchester United (soccer), Glazer family, $2.81 billion
- New York Yankees (baseball), Steinbrenner family, $2.5 billion
- Dallas Cowboys (football), Jerry Jones, $2.3 billion
- Los Angeles Dodgers (baseball), Guggenheim Baseball, $2 billion
- Bayern Munich (soccer), club members, $1.85
- New England Patriots (football), Robert Kraft, $1.7 billion
- Washington Redskins (football), Daniel Snyder, $1.7 billion
- New York Giants (football), John Mara and Steven Tisch, $1.5 billion
Forbes reports that the average value of a team listed among its top 50 is $1.34 billion, up eight percent from last year.
Thirty of the clubs, or 60 percent of the teams in the top 50, are from the NFL. The New York Knicks, valued at $1.4 billion, was the most valuable National Basketball Association team in Forbes' ranking, coming in at No. 13. Another of the league's big-market franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers was No. 15 at $1.35 billion.
The most valuable National Hockey League team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, at No. 26, is valued at $1.15 billion and owned by Bell Canada and Rogers Communications. The Leafs are also the only NHL team to make the most valuable list.