Forbes Magazine Thursday released its annual survey of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, and reconfirmed the National Football League’s status as the best sports property in the United States.
It also reconfirmed that the NFL runs a distant second to the best teams in the world that play that other brand of football known in the U.S. as soccer.
While the top 10 teams in the world include four NFL teams, the top three teams and four of the top 10 are internationally acclaimed soccer teams, led for the second year in a row by Real Madrid, which has an approximate value of $3.44 billion.
For winning the Champions League this year (a tournament which pits the best teams from all European nations against each other), Real Madrid was awarded $78 million. It has a $41 million uniform deal with adidas. It generated $675 million in revenue in the 2012-2013 season. It has under contract one of the top players in the world in Christiano Renaldo.
The competition between Real Madrid and long-time national foe Barcelona extends to the bottom line. Barcelona ranks second on the Forbes list with a value of $3.2 billion, thanks in part to the inclusion of two of the world’s most popular players, Lionel Messi and Neymar. The Nike store at its current home stadium has the highest retail sales of any Nike store in the world.
Manchester United, historically England’s most successful soccer franchise, had a miserable season on the field in 2013-14, but is still worth $2.81 billion to the Glazer family, which owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, which are not worth $2.81 billion.
The New York Yankees remain America’s most valuable franchise at $2.5 billion, while the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable NFL franchise at $2.3 billion. The Los Angeles Dodgers represent the west coast of the U.S. as the sixth most valuable sports franchises in the world at $2 billion.
Forbes goes back to soccer to place German soccer club Bayern Munich at No. 7 with a value of $1.85 billion, although the recent championship for Germany in the World Cup could boost sales in the Bundesliga league.
The NFL holds the 8-10 spots with the New England Patriots ($1.8 billion), the Washington (still named) Redskins ($1.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($1.55 billion.
Many observers wonder how the value of the Redskins would be affected by a change in its team mascot name.
The No. 50 team on the Forbes list is AC Milan, a soccer team from Italy, which is valued at $586 million. Thirty of the 32 NFL teams make the top 50 list, with only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders failing to show.
The top NBA team on the list is the New York Knicks at $1.4 billion. There are three other NBA teams among the top 50. The National Hockey League is represented at No. 26 by the Toronto Maple Leafs at a value of $1.15 billion.