Real Madrid fends off NFL and NBA rivals in ‘most valuable’ title race

CNN  — 

Real Madrid might have failed to win its domestic championship for the third season in a row, but the Spanish soccer giant is still dominant globally on the financial front.

For the third year in a row, Real has been named the most valuable sports team in the world by Forbes – fending off competition from American football and Major League Baseball.

The 10-time European champion is valued by the business magazine at $3.26 billion, while the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and MLB’s New York Yankees are in joint second at $3.2 billion.

It’s not all good news for Real, however, as its estimated value dropped by 5% over the past year.

“The value of the franchise is down, thanks largely to the decline of the euro against the dollar,” Forbes said on its website.

“The cruelest blow from a financial perspective might have come in February when Madrid’s regional high court shot down plans for the club to expand the club’s stadium, Santiago Bernabéu, with new seating, shopping and a hotel complex. The club still hopes to push forward with the renovation.”

Real’s Spanish rival Barcelona, which won a treble of trophies last season, was fourth on $3.16B and English team Manchester United ($3.1B) was fifth, but the remainder of the top 10 is dominated by American sports teams.

NFL champion New England Patriots tied for sixth with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers on $2.6B, with another basketball franchise, the New York Knicks, seventh on $2.5B.

Baseball’s LA Dodgers and NFL side Washington Redskins were joint ninth on $2.4B.

The NFL made up 20 of the top 50 teams, while MLB had 12, the NBA 10 and there were seven soccer teams in total.

While Real Madrid and Barcelona take over a third of top-flight Spanish clubs’ TV revenue between them, it still pales in comparison to the rights deals enjoyed by their U.S. and English counterparts.

“The undisputed TV king in the world of sports is the NFL, which kicked off new network deals last year worth more than $5 billion a year, not including its $1.5 billion-a-year pact with DirecTV,” Forbes explained.

“The NBA inked a $2.66 billion-a-year deal in October with ESPN and TNT, which was triple the previous rate.

“Regional sports networks are committing to long-term deals with baseball teams, like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 25-year, $8.35 billion contract with Time Warner Cable.

“The English Premier League joined the party in February with a $2.7 billion-a-year pact with Sky, which kicks off in 2016 and represents a 70% bump on the current deal.”

Formula One’s Ferrari was the only motorsport team – ranked 32nd – and the Toronto Maple Leafs at tied 37th was the sole NHL franchise.

Forbes valued 62 sports teams worldwide valued at $1 billion or above, and the minimum value to make it into this year’s top 50 was $1.15 billion, compared to the $856 million in 2014.

Watch: Steven Gerrard on his new life in Los Angeles

Read: Gerrard - I’m not the new Beckham

Can Real stay at the top? Tell us your views on CNN FC’s Facebook page