Real Madrid dethroned by the NFL on Forbes’ most valuable sports franchise list

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Having held the top spot the last three years, Real Madrid was bumped from the moniker of Most Valuable Sports Franchise on this year’s list despite lifting the Champions League trophy.

The lineup, put out by Forbes each year, evaluates the assets, debt, brand recognition, and fanbase earning power to determine overall value. Manchester United held the crown in 2011, taken over by Real Madrid for each of the past three years. Now, the Dallas Cowboys reside at the summit.

Forbes cited increased television deals outside of Sunday nights, plus a record profit in 2014, as reasons the Cowboys made the jump. It says the average NFL franchise tables a value of $2 billion, up 160% from 10 years ago, with the Cowboys worth $4 billion.

The article states that Real Madrid still holds the world’s highest pure revenue for a sports team at nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars, and state that Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. This valuation does not include Madrid’s kit deal with Adidas signed earlier this year, worth $1.6 billion over 10 years.

Barcelona is third on the list, having equaled Madrid’s 12% growth over the last decade. Manchester United is fifth, with its value increasing 7% over the past year following a return to Champions League play, but also owns the most debt of any team in the Top 25. Bayern Munich comes in at 12, the last soccer club in the top 20.

Arsenal was the list’s “biggest mover” having increased a whopping 13 places to 23rd on the list with a valuation of $2 billion.