Real Madrid tops Forbes' most valuable football clubs list at $3.3 billion, followed closely by La Liga rivals Barcelona. As Grace Pascoe reports, the rising value of TV deals means clubs could be ringing up even bigger dollar signs in the years to come.
A richlist hat trick for Real Madrid. Forbes latest poll reveals the club is - at 3.26 billion dollars - the world's most valuable for the third year straight. Closely followed by Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Rising TV income and shirt sponsorships are boosting revenues - though the scoreline does, of course, count. Forbes' Michael Ozanian. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL OZANIAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF FORBES MEDIA AND MANAGING EDITOR OF FORBES SPORTS MONEY, SAYING: "Beyond the TV deals that are going to kick in is how well does a team do on the pitch, because the better they do on the pitch, generally, the more TV money that they get, the bigger distribution from their league." Eight of the top 20 teams are from the English Premier League. And, despite Manchester United's on-field game, its financial performance is legendary. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL OZANIAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF FORBES MEDIA AND MANAGING EDITOR OF FORBES SPORTS MONEY, SAYING: "What it has been is a marketing animal. They have a seven-year deal with Chevrolet for shirt rights which is for $600 million in total - by far the biggest shirt deal in soccer. And, they have a $1.1 billion global sponsorship deal with Adidas for their kit, which is, again, by far the biggest deal in soccer." Club values are up 11 percent from last year, to an average of nearly 1.2 billion dollars. That's an 84 percent jump from 5 years ago. There's no sign of it slowing yet, says Schroders fund manager, Alix Stewart. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SCHRODERS, INVESTMENT MANAGER, ALIX STEWART, SAYING: "Unless you can see some kind of a reversal in the trend of massive bidding for sports rights then it is hard to see the valuations going down an awful lot from here." Just one more thing for the top clubs, and their top players, to celebrate.