Real Madrid has surpassed ManU as the most valuable football franchise in Forbes' annual list of The World's Top 20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams. Real Madrid is valued at $3.3B, more than a 76% increase over last year. It becomes the most valuable sports franchise in the world. ManU now ranks No. 2, valued at $3.17B. This is the first time since Forbes began valuing football teams in '04 that ManU is not No. 1 on the list (Forbes). FORBES' Mike Ozanian reported Real Madrid generated operation income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and player trading) of $134M, "more than any football team and second only to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys" ($227M). Thanks "to rich sponsorship deals" that are underpinned by the team's storied history of trophies and star players that were or are global themselves -- Raul Blanco, David Beckham, Ronaldo Lima, Cristiano Ronaldo -- Real Madrid's "revenue increased 62% over the past three years with an average operating margin of 28%." In hot pursuit of Real Madrid and ManU is Barcelona. Barça's "value doubled over the past year, the biggest increase of any top 20 team," to $2.6B (FORBES, 4/17).
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