National Football League (NFL) franchise the Dallas Cowboys is the most valuable sports team in the world, according to Forbes.
The Cowboys were valued at $4bn (€3.61bn) – a 25 per cent increase compared to 2015. Spanish Liga giant Real Madrid ($3.65bn) and its rival, Barcelona ($3.55bn), were ranked second and third respectively.
The top five was completed by Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the New York Yankees ($3.4bn) and the English Premier League’s Manchester United, valued at $3.32bn, a seven per cent increase year-on-year.
It is the first time that Forbes’ annual list of the 50 most valuable sports teams has been topped by a non-football team.Real Madrid had held the top position for the past three years, while Manchester United was considered the world’s most valuable sports team in 2011 and 2012.
Forbes pointed to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as the driving force behind the team’s increase in value. Jones controls the revenue streams from the $1.2bn home of the Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, and the team is also the only franchise that is not included in the NFL’s licensed merchandise agreement.
Forbes found that the Cowboys’ failure to reach a Super Bowl in the past two decades had not impacted upon premium seat revenue, which stands at $125m, and sponsorship revenue ($120m).
The NFL-dominated list featured 27 American football franchises, eight NBA teams, eight European football clubs and seven MLB teams.
The average worth of clubs on the list is $2.2bn, compared to $1.75bn last year.
The San Francisco 49ers had the largest year-on- year increase in valuation among the listed teams at 69 per cent, while Arsenal was the biggest mover position-wise, rising from No.36 to No.23.
Forbes compiles the rankings based on valuations carried out in the past 12 months encompassing enterprise value (equity plus debt) based on current venue deals, unless a new venue is pending.