First the Champions League, and now this.
Football is not only the world’s game, it is now the world’s richest game thanks to impressive gains from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona.
According to Forbes Magazine’s annual list of richest soccer teams on the planet released today, Real Madrid is worth $3.3 billion on $650 million revenue last season.
Man U is second with $3.17 billion while Barca rounded out the top three at $2.6 billion.
This year, the trio outstrips both baseball’s New York Yankees and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys for most treasured teams on the globe.
Forbes began tracking soccer clubs in 2004, and this is the first year Manchester’s Red Devils have relinquished top spot. Madrid also defeated Man U on the pitch when the two giants clashed in a Champions League playoff this season.
Off the field, the rich are just getting richer with the three top clubs anticipating even greater profits thanks to increasing sponsorship and media deals.
Emirates Airlines from Dubai and Real Madrid are said to be nearing a $39-million annual shirt sponsorship.
Yet, that’s not even close to what Chevrolet is planning to pay. The American car-maker is budgeted nearly $80 million annually for the right to place its logo on Manchester United jerseys.
Qatar Airlines and Nike are throwing their cash behind Barcelona with a combined $83 million uniform-jersey contact.
However, at least one analyst warns against reading too much into the rankings.
Simon Chadwick told CNN that the top three aren’t afraid to borrow to spend.
“Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona are all in the top-10 list of the most indebted clubs in the world, even if their revenue streams are healthy and strongly established,” he said.