Manchester United are the world’s richest sports club with an estimated value of £1.4billion according to Forbes Magazine.
The Premier League leaders retained their status after seeing a 20 per cent increase in value, soaring above Real Madrid in second, worth £1.2billion, and Barcelona in third, worth £817million.
The Reds’ successful run in the Champions League last season helped to increase their worldwide fan base to 330million.
The report on Forbes.com claims: “Manchester United’s global fan base also helps makes it the most valuable team in any sport, worth £240million more than both Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.
“During the 2010-11 season Manchester United reaped £120million in broadcasting revenue, 22 per cent higher than the previous season.
“The club’s run last year to the final of the Champions League, where they lost to Barcelona, commanded a £50million payout from UEFA. It will be more challenging for the Red Devils to boost revenue this year, as the team was stunned early in the Champions League by Basel.”
Five football teams are now estimated to be worth over $1billion (£624million) as fellow Champions League regulars Bayern Munich and Arsenal join the others.
And Forbes expects that the biggest competition in Europe will mean the rich continue to get richer.
“Not only do these teams reap direct revenue from finishing near the top of their domestic leagues and tournament competition, but they also generate rich sponsorship and merchandise deals from the powerful brands they have built through success on the pitch over time.
“During the 2011 season the UEFA Champions League, the world’s richest annual soccer competition, dolled out a total of £711million to the 32 teams that qualified for the group stage, 23 per cent more than the previous year.
“A 25 per cent increase in UEFA’s broadcasting revenue, to £799million, fuelled the increase.”