Nine football (soccer) clubs feature on the 2021 Forbes list of the most valuable sports teams in the world, which remains largely dominated by NFL franchises. But there are as many football clubs as basketball teams, while there are only six representing baseball.
Forbes’ methodology calculates a team’s value, which is equity plus net debt, using ‘revenue and operating income adjusted for revenue sharing, and include the economics of each team’s arena deal but not the value of the real estate itself’.
Dallas Cowboys tops the overall list with a valuation of $5.7bn, with the New York Yankees and New York Knicks following in second and third respectively, also with valuations of at least €5bn.
The first football club on the list comes in as high as number four.
Here’s a look at all nine football clubs on Forbes’ top 50 list for 2021…
9. Paris Saint-Germain – $2.5bn (€2.06bn, £1.77bn)
Overall position: =43rd
Value change over last five years: +207%
Paris Saint-Germain have become one of the established European elite under Qatari ownership since 2011 and have seen their value soar by a factor of 200% in the last five years alone. They enjoy a status as one of the most fashionable and marketable clubs in the world.
8. Arsenal – $2.8bn (€2.3bn, £1.99bn)
Overall position: 38th
Value change over last five years: +39%
Arsenal have been under Kroenke family ownership since 2011 and their valuation has more than doubled since then. But the rate of increase has slowed in more recent years, which is perhaps attributable to a general lack of success on the pitch.
7. Chelsea – $3.2bn (€2.63bn, £2.27bn)
Overall position: =25th
Value change over last five years: +93%
Roman Abramovich appears to once more be fully invested in Chelsea following concerns in recent years that his interest in the club may have been starting to wane, especially after he left the UK in 2018 amid delays over the renewal of his visa.
6. Manchester City – $4bn (€3.29bn, £2.84bn)
Manchester City have come to dominate English football in recent seasons. The enormous investment of Sheikh Mansour has completely transformed the club, with success on the pitch driving an increased presence and global brand off it.
5. Liverpool – £4.1bn (€3.37bn, £2.91bn)
Overall position: 12th
Value change over last five years: +165%
Liverpool have struggled financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but their overall valuation has soared over the last five years. That has coincided with Jurgen Klopp’s reign as manager and the success he has delivered, which has driven massive commercial growth.
4. Manchester United – $4.2bn (€3.45bn, £2.98bn)
Overall position: 11th
Value change over last five years: +27%
Manchester United have seen their valuation grow at a slower rate over the last five years than any of the other football clubs on this list. The Glazer family continue to profit each year and European Super League scandal has brought a fresh wave of fan protests against the American owners.
3. Bayern Munich – $4.21bn (€3.46bn, £2.99bn)
Overall position: 10th
Value change over last five years: +57%
Bayern Munich continue to dominate the domestic scene in Germany and made Champions League history in 2020 by becoming the first team to win every single game they played in the competition en-route to lifting the trophy that season.
2. Real Madrid – $4.75bn (€3.91bn, £3.37bn)
Overall position: 5th
Value change over last five years: +30%
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been a driving force behind the failed European Super League concept, which his club has doggedly refused to give up on. But Los Blancos remain an instantly recognisable brand worldwide and have won four Champions Leagues since 2014.
1. Barcelona – $4.76bn (€3.91bn, £3.38bn)
Overall position: 4th
Value change over last five years: +34%
Spiralling debt and immense costs at Barcelona, the latter largely the result of unsustainable spending on transfer fees and wages that haven’t translated into major on-field success in recent season, are a huge burden. But their overall valuation is still number one in world football.