Manchester United has once again been named as the world's most valuable sports team according to Forbes, with Spanish champion Real Madrid ranking second in the annual top 50 list.
The 19-time champion of England, that is preparing to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was valued at $2.23 billion, up from $1.86 billion last year and 19 percent above second-place Los Blancos at $1.88 billion.
The top 50 list, which is collectively worth $53 billion, included seven football teams, with Arsenal falling three places to 10th and Barcelona rising 18 spots to eighth.
United, that is owned by the Glazer family which also owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, can thank the many lucrative global sponsorship deals in its arsenal for its top ranking. Insurer Aon is currently paying 19.8 million pounds a year until 2014 to have its name on the team’s shirts.
DHL Express also recently signed a four-year deal with the club worth a reported 40 million pounds to sponsor United’s training shirts, in a first for a practice kit sponsorship deal for football in the UK, while sports brand Nike manages the team’s merchandise sales in and agreement worth approximately 25 million pounds annually.
The rest of the top ten is comprised of American sports franchises, with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees tied for third place.
Bayern Munich was placed just outside of the top ten at eleventh, while AC Milan featured 27th on the list, with Chelsea the final football representative at number 45.
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