Professional sports have proven to be a lucrative industry. Millions of people tune in to games and follow their favorite teams, generating enormous venues from ads for the networks. The top athletes endorse popular brands in a bid to sway fans to purchase their products. Stadiums are packed with spectators who wish to see the action live as it happens. Merchandise are sold at the gates and in the malls. Forbes compiles an annual list of the most valuable sports teams and they are typically dominated by soccer, American football, baseball and basketball. Here’s the top 5 from 2016:
1. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have made a name for themselves after winning five Super Bowl championship titles in the 70s and the 90s. They have also been the conference champions ten times, the division champions 22 times, and have had 32 playoff appearances in its long history. You know that they’ll be a contender year after year. Known as “America’s Team”, the franchise generated $620 million in 2014 and is currently valued at $4 billion to top this list. Jerry Jones’ boys in blue call the AT&T Stadium their home.
2. Real Madrid
The Spanish club was the king for the last three years and, while it has fallen to #2, it is still valued at a cool $3.65 billion. It’s definitely one of the most popular teams in the global arena, particularly in Europe where football routinely makes the headlines. It is currently coached by French legend Zinedine Zidane and has just finished second in the last season of La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo leads the scoring and has been recognized as the FIFA Player of the Year.
Nothing gets sports fans more excited than rivalries. For Real Madrid, the perennial nemesis has always been Barcelona. Their matchups in La Liga are always well-attended as people await to see who will get the upper hand. In the last season, it was Barca that emerged on top thanks to impressive teamwork. Its star player is Lionel Messi from Argentina who has also won FIFA Player of the Year several times in the past. Other notable players include captain Andres Iniesta of Spain and Neymar of Brazil. The team is valued at $3.55 billion.
4. New York Yankees
Baseball has frequently intersected with US popular culture with its legendary players being household names until this day. Countless movies have also been made about the sport. In the league, no team has greater brand recognition than the New York Yankees. This club has been around for a while and has produced legends like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig. It is valued at $3.4 billion.
5. Manchester United
Finally, we have another football team from Europe with Manchester United. The club enjoyed great success under the leadership of Alex Ferguson but has not been as dominant since his departure as manager. Despite setbacks, fans are still bullish about ManU’s prospects especially with new manager Mourinho and key player acquisitions. The team is valued at $3.32 billion.