Manchester United’s Value Rises to $2.2 Billion on Forbes’s List

Manchester United topped Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s most valuable soccer club with an estimated value of $2.24 billion, a 20 percent increase on last year. David Beckham was again ranked the richest player.

United, owned by U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer and his family, was followed by record nine-time European Cup winner Real Madrid, which is valued at $1.87 billion, Forbes said on its website. European champion Barcelona was third at $1.30 billion, a 34 percent rise.

Forbes determined its valuations by combining its own review of financial documents and interviews with sports bankers with Deloitte LLP’s annual “Football Money League” report, which in February ranked Real Madrid as the richest club by sales ahead of Barcelona and United.

United, which has a five-point lead atop the Premier League as it seeks a record-extending 20th English league title, has headed up the list every year since Forbes began calculating valuations for soccer teams in 2004.

The club’s worldwide fan base of about 330 million also helps make the Red Devils the most valuable team in any professional sport, worth $385 million more than Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, Forbes added.

The average value of the 20 teams on the list increased by 20 percent to $770 million, while operating income rose 13 percent to an average of $45 million, according to Forbes.

London-based Arsenal, at $1.29 billion, and Germany’s Bayern Munich are the only other clubs to have a valuation of at least $1 billion.

Beckham, a former United and Real Madrid midfielder now playing with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, retained his spot atop the best-paid players’ list with $46 million in 2011 from salary, bonuses and endorsements, Forbes said.

Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo is second at $42 million, ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who was named as soccer’s best player for the third straight year in January, on $39 million. United striker Wayne Rooney is fourth on the list with $24 million.

FORBES TOP 20 SOCCER TEAMS BY VALUE SEASON, 2010-11
===================================================

CLUB                          VALUE
                         (USD MILLIONS)
 1. Manchester United         2,235
 2. Real Madrid               1,877
 3. Barcelona                 1,307
 4. Arsenal                   1,292
 5. Bayern Munich             1,235
 6. AC Milan                    989
 7. Chelsea                     761
 8. Liverpool                   619
 9. Juventus                    591
10. Schalke                     587
11. Tottenham                   564
12. Inter Milan                 490
13. Manchester City             443
14. Borussia Dortmund           394
15. Lyon                        385
16. Hamburg                     355
17. AS Roma                     354
18. Marseille                   349
19. Valencia                    288
20. Napoli                      283

FORBES TOP 10 RICHEST SOCCER PLAYERS, SEASON 2010-11
====================================================

PLAYER                        EARNINGS
                           (USD MILLIONS)
 1. David Beckham                46
 2. Cristiano Ronaldo            42
 3. Lionel Messi                 39
 4. Wayne Rooney                 24
 5. Kaka                         21
 6. John Terry                   18
 7. Yaya Toure                   18
 8. Fernando Torres              17
 9. Frank Lampard                16
10. Steven Gerrard               16

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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