Wednesday July 15th, 2015

Spanish soccer team Real Madrid topped Forbes' annual list of the most valuable sports teams in the world for the third straight year.

Forbes says the figures are enterprise values based on current stadium deals.

Real Madrid, which has won 32 domestic championships, is worth $3.26 billion and brought in $746 million in revenue last year, due to television revenue of $277 million, the highest in sports.

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are tied for second with a value of $3.2 million. Barcelona ($3.16 billion) and Manchester United ($3.1 billion) round out the top five.

The Los Angeles Lakers ($2.6 billion) are at No. 6, followed by the New England Patriots ($2.6 billion) and New York Knicks ($2.5 billion). The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Redskins are tied for ninth on the list with a value of $2.4 billion.

The average team value for the list is $1.75 billion, up 31% from 2014. The rise in valuations are due to the increased wealth of NBA and MLB teams. The minimum valuation for a team to make the Forbes list this year was $1.15 billion, up from $856 million a year ago.

The NBA agreed to a nine-year, $24 billion basketball rights deal with ESPN and TNT last October, while MLB teams can benefit from deals with regional sports networks. The Dodgers, for example, continue pay top salaries to their players thanks to a 25-year, $8.35 billion contract with Time Warner Cable.

Los Angeles set a major league record this year by having a $270 million Opening Day payroll, including paying $43.8 million to players who aren't even on their roster.

There are 20 NFL squads on the 51-team list, with 12 from Major League Baseball, 10 from the NBA, and one from Formula One.

The only NHL team on the list is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are tied for No. 37 with a $1.3 billion value.

- Scooby Axson

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