Manchester United and Real Madrid Are World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams, Forbes Reports

The latest numbers are in, and soccer is leading the way.

Manchester United and Real Madrid placed first and second (respectively) in Forbes' annual list of the most valuable sports teams. They are among the seven soccer clubs that appear in the list, which ranks the top 50 sports teams in the world.

"Forbes estimates Manchester United is now worth $2.23 billion (£1.43 billion), 19% more than No. 2 Real Madrid, which is worth $1.88 billion (£1.20 billion)," the report says.

United has leveraged its considerable worldwide fan-base, which it estimates at 659 million, to ink some of the biggest sponsorship deals in sports history. Corporate partners include AON, Nike, DHL, AIG and Turkish Airlines. United also earns millions each year from television, as the Premier League is the world's most lucrative domestic soccer competition.

Real Madrid trails United on the commercial side, but the Spanish club has a mammoth television deal that paid it $193.7 million (£124 million) in 2010-11. It also lends its name to various ventures around the world, including a $1 billion resort-island theme park in the U.A.E. that is scheduled to open in 2015.

Real's Spanish rival, FC Barcelona, and United's Premier League rival, Arsenal FC, also appear in Forbes' top 10 (at eight and ten respectively).

The National Football League dominates the rankings, as all 32 of its teams appear in the top 50. The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable American football team with Forbes estimating their worth at $1.85 billion (£1.18 billion).

Major League Baseball has seven teams on the list, with the $1.85 billion (£1.18 billion) New York Yankees topping the baseball bunch.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O'Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer's Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.