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Forbes Rich List: Manchester United Are The World’s Most Valuable Football Club

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Forbes’ inaugural SportsMoney 50-50 standings (a system used to rank the 50 most valuable teams and the 50 most valuable athletes across the whole of world sport) were announced yesterday and, although the ‘teams’ segment is predominantly populated by American sports franchises, sitting pretty in the top spot is Premier League outfit Manchester United.

United have reaped the financial benefits of lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes on Nike and Aon, as well as a myriad of other income-generating endeavours (such as their in-house television channel MUTV, which is currently beamed into over 190 million households worldwide) to secure themselves an estimated global value of over $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion).

All in all, nine football clubs made the top 50, here’s how the SportsMoney list breaks down in terms of their ranking…

1. Manchester United (1st on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $1.83 billion (£1.19 million) / Estimated revenue: $459 million (£300 million)

United are thought to have upwards of 333 million followers across the world, with a core contingent of 139 million supporters.

2. Real Madrid (6th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $1.32 billion (£864 million) / Estimated revenue: $563 million (£368 million)

Real have a higher income rate than Manchester United, but much higher overheads. Los Blancos also recoup $225 million in broadcasting fees, the highest in global sport.

3. Arsenal (8th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $1.18 billion (£772 million) / Estimated revenue: $369 million (£241 million)

The Gunners have a relatively low global revenue, but the consistently high attendances at their new 60,000 capacity Emirates stadium contributed to their $102 million ‘operating income’ (i.e. ticket sales etc.) for last season – which is the second highest in the Premier League behind Manchester United.

Camp Nou 300x225 Forbes Rich List: Manchester United Are The Worlds Most Valuable Football Club

Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium

4. Barcelona (25th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $1 billion (£654 million) / Estimated revenue: $573 million (£375 million)

Barca secured $220 million in broadcasting revenue and online media deals last season.

5. Bayern Munich (27th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $990 million (£648 million) / Estimated revenue: $406 million (£265 million)

Die Roten are the highest ranking German side by quite a margin, as no other Bundesliga club came anywhere near to making the top 50. Their double-winning domestic season, coupled with their appearance in the Champions League final are sure to boost their revenue next year.

6. Liverpool (41st on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $822 million (£538 million) / Estimated revenue: $304 million (£199 million)

Liverpool had seen a consistent increase in sponsorship revenue over the past few years, but their disappointing showing last season may have a negative impact on their future income.

Ronaldinho 300x208 Forbes Rich List: Manchester United Are The Worlds Most Valuable Football Club

Ronaldinho in action for AC Milan

7. AC Milan (43rd on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $800 million (£523 million) / Estimated revenue: $276 million (£180 million)

The Rossoneri saw their revenue fall by $54 million after failing to qualify for the Champions League in the 2008/09 season.

8. Juventus (47th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $656 million (£429) / Estimated revenue: $285 million (£186 million)

The Bianconeri are currently on target to complete a new state-of-the-art, 40,000 capacity stadium by June of next year, which will be sure to boost their operating income.

9. Chelsea (48th on Forbes’ list)

Estimated value: $646 million (£423) / Estimated revenue: $340 million (£222 million)

Chelsea’s renewed shirt sponsorship deal with telecoms giant Samsung will net them $48 million over the next three years.

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Please note that these results are an educated estimation of each respective club’s value not their residual wealth, hence the reason why cash-rich clubs such as Manchester City do not feature.

Comments (2)

  1. How can Man Utd be the most valuable club when they have one of the biggest debts? if not the biggest debt) Surely comparing balance sheet to income generation woudl make Arsenal more valuable than Man Utd???

  2. Comment by: http://www.thefootballmerchandisestore.co.uk

    It gets tiresome but here goes…….again!

    How an asset is financed does not affect its valuation. If you buy a house for $1M putting-up $200k in cash and taking out a mortgage of $800k to finance the purchase, is the house now worth just $200k? No!

    Your personal equity is $200k (house value less what you have to pay-back on the loan). The house however can still be sold for $1m. Get it?

    “Surely comparing balance sheet to income generation woudl make Arsenal more valuable than Man Utd???”

    Do you actually know what that means…….because I’m at loss!?