Real Madrid Top Sports Teams Rich List
European football clubs continue to dominate a rich list of world sport teams, with Champions League winners Real Madrid in the top spot.
According to the annual Forbes list, the Spanish side are worth $3.44bn (£1.75bn), having reached the semi-finals of European football's most valuable tournament for the past four seasons.
They reached the milestone despite a third spot finish to La Liga - pipped by local rivals Atletico Madrid followed by Barcelona - and huge transfers including the world record £85.3m transfer of Gareth Bale from Spurs in last September.
Barcelona - who count Lionel Messi and Neymar among their star names - followed Real in the Forbes table with a value of $3.2bn, with Manchester United some way back in third - valued at $2.81bn.
But the Old Trafford club, who begin the 2014/15 season without the prospect of Champions League football after a disastrous previous campaign under the now-sacked David Moyes, stand a chance of wiping out their debts from next year when their record kit deal with Adidas kicks in.
The contract - worth £750m over 10 years - is one of a number of lucrative sponsorship agreements aimed at boosting revenue from the club's global appeal.
The top five in the World's 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams report is completed by US baseball side the New York Yankees, worth $2.5bn, and NFL side the Dallas Cowboys, with a value of $2.3bn, helped by a $500m stadium naming deal with AT&T.
Forbes said the values of all the top sports sides were being boosted by "exploding" TV rights fees alongside massive stock market wealth.
The report added: "The value of professional sports franchises has been turned upside down with the potential sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer for $2bn.
"The deal, which is hung up in the courts, values the Clippers at 15 times revenue compared to the previous NBA record of five times revenue for the sales of the Milwaukee Bucks in March and Washington Wizards in 2010.
"The big market Philadelphia 76ers sold for just 2.5 times revenue in 2011.
"As expensive as prime US sports properties have become, they can't match the top European soccer clubs when it comes to value and global reach."
The report also examined the impact of social media in terms of value to a team.
It said: "The contrast between elite soccer clubs and top American teams is vast."
When it comes to Facebook, Barcelona (69 million), Real (67 million) and United (53 million) have the three biggest followings among sports teams.
"The top eight are all soccer clubs before the Los Angeles Lakers break the string with 21 million fans.
Forbes has valued teams in the major sports leagues since 1998, evaluating enterprise values (equity plus debt) based on current venue deals.