It pays to be the best soccer club in the world. Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen unveiled the list of the 50 richest sports teams in the world, and Real Madrid reign supreme months after they beat Atletico Madrid in the final of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid are historically one of the biggest clubs in the world. When you combine the revenue they normally generate with the monetary lift and prestige that comes with winning the European competition, it doesn't come as a surprise that Los Blancos would top the list.
Badenhausen broke down the financial details:
Real Madrid has made it to the Champions League semifinals for four consecutive years and took home the crown this year, defeating Atletico Madrid 4-1 for its record tenth Champions League title. The win means a payout of $78 million versus the $62 million Real earned last season for its semifinal finish. Real Madrid, which features global icon and reigning player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, generates more revenue than any sports team in the world ($675 million for the 2012-13 season). Commercial revenue is padded by a $41 million-a-year kit deal with Adidas and a shirt sponsorship with Emirates worth $39 million annually. Madrid is planning a $540 million renovation to its stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, which is expected to be completed in 2017.
The next two spots on the list are also occupied by soccer clubs, with Barcelona listed just behind their Spanish rivals and Manchester United coming in third.
The New York Yankees are the highest American team on the list in fourth place at $2.5 billion. The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable NFL team with a valuation of $2.3 billion, fifth-most overall. The New York Knicks are the highest NBA team on the list at $1.4 billion, good for 13th in the rankings.
The NFL remains America's juggernaut, with 30 of the league's 32 franchises cracking the top 50.
One of the more interesting aspects of the list was the absence of the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve Ballmer agreed to buy the team for $2 billion, but the sale is being held up by current owner Donald Sterling's continued fight, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears.
Forbes currently values the Clippers at $575 million, which ranks just 13th in the NBA. As Forbes tweeted out, having the team sell for nearly $1.5 billion over that valuation would radically alter the subsequent estimates of other sports franchises:
Nevertheless, there's no doubt sports teams are thriving all over the world, and there are no signs that trend will stop anytime soon.