Manchester United, Real Madrid, NY Yankees Most Valuable Sports Franchises

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on July 18 2012 12:48 PM

English soccer power Manchester United is the world's most valuable team, worth an estimated $2.23 billion, according to Forbes.

Manchester United has long been one of the most successful and popular soccer franchises in the world. The world's most valuable sports franchise, with an estimated 659 million fans worldwide, plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange later this year.

Not surprisingly, the second most valuable sports franchise is also a soccer team. Real Madrid, which features international superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, is second on Forbes' list with a $1.88 billion valuation. Real Madrid is one of the most popular teams in Spain, often competing with F.C. Barcelona, and is a frequent contender to win the UEFA Champions League, although it lost in the semifinals to Bayern Munich, the 11th most valuable team in the world.

Following the two international soccer franchises were a host of big-name American sports teams. The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees tied for third on the list at $1.85 billion. Both are considered America's teams and have large fanbases outside of their geographic region. The Cowboys benefit greatly from their new $1.2 billion stadium, while the Yankees have flourished with their YES Network, which generated $200 million in operating income last year.

Rounding out the top five were the Daniel Snyder-owned Washington Redskins. The Redskins have struggled mightily on the field in the ultra-competitive NFC East, but have one of the biggest fanbases in all of sports in the Washington, D.C. region. Forbes values the Redskins at $1.55 billion.

Other notable teams include the Los Angeles Dodgers at sixth with $1.4 billion, the New York Giants at ninth with $1.3 billion, Boston Red Sox at 24th at one billion, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with a $900 million value, in the 35th spot.

Overall all 30 NFL teams made the Top 50 list.

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