Real Madrid the world's richest sport franchise
SHANE DE BARRA
After a month in the headlines thanks to the World Cup in Brazil, football has once again reinforced it's reputation as the planet's most popular game, this time in the financial stakes.
Of the top 10 richest sporting franchises in the world, four of them come from the beautiful game, including the top three. The other sports represented were American Football (NFL) and Major League Baseball, while the NBA had presence in the top 50.
It's been a hard month for Spanish football after the national team's ignominious defence of their World Cup title, but off the pitch the coffers were far from empty with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona today named by Forbes Magazine as the world's two richest sporting franchises.
Real Madrid, who won the Champions League this year and with star players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, led the way with a value of US$3.44 billion (NZ$4b), closely followed by Lionel Messi's Barcelona with a US$3.2b (NZ$3.67b) tag around the club's neck.
English giants Manchester United were ranked third with a US$2.81b (NZ$3.2b) valuation, despite the sacking of club manager David Moyes and the team's failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over two decades.
Bayern Munich kept the feel good factor in German football alive with their US$1.85b (NZ$2.15b) putting them seventh on the list.
Of the other franchises on the top 10 list, the New York Yankees came in fourth with the Dallas Cowboys in fifth. The LA Dodgers, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and New York Giants also made it in.
The average value of the top 50 teams was $US1.34b (NZ$1.54b), an eight per cent increase from last year.
FORBES' TOP 10 SPORTS RICH LIST (all in NZ$)
1. Real Madrid ($4 billion)
2. Barcelona ($3.67 billion)
3. Manchester United ($3.2 billion)
4. New York Yankees ($2.9 billion)
5. Dallas Cowboys ($2.68 billion)
6. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.33 billion)
7. Bayern Munich ($2.15 billion)
8. New England Patriots($2.09 billion)
9. Washington Redskins ($1.98 billion)
10. New York Giants ($1.81 billion)