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The 50 most valuable soccer clubs in the world: NYCFC at #27

A new report from Sportico values New York City FC at $690 million, the same as soon-to-be Serie A champions Napoli.

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Sportico just published a report that lists the 50 most valuable soccer clubs in the world — and ranks New York City FC at 27, just ahead of Napoli in Serie A.

The reported NYCFC valuation of $690 million is well below the $800 million assessed by Forbes earlier this year, but Sportico’s figure puts New York City in some impressive company. While the Forbes article only judged the valuations of MLS teams, the Sportico piece does nothing less than look at every club in the world. If you believe the numbers, NYCFC are worth just $20 million less than a legacy club like Ajax in the Netherlands — and $25 million more than English Premier League side West Ham United.

RELATED: Forbes values NYCFC at $800 million
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The teams in Sportico’s Top 10 are no surprise: It’s one European heavyweight after another. They are, in order, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain.

Things get more interesting when you get into the teens, where AC Milan and Inter Milan are closely trailed by LAFC, LA Galaxy, and Atlanta United. MLS clubs are strongly represented on this list.

Sportico: World’s Most Valuable Soccer Clubs 2023

1Manchester United$5.95 billion
2Real Madrid$5.23 billion
3FC Barcelona$4.95 billion
4Liverpool$4.71 billion
5Bayern Munich$4.46 billion
6Manchester City$4.43 billion
7Arsenal$3.6 billion
8Chelsea$3.47 billion
9Paris Saint-Germain$3.41 billion
10 Tottenham Hotspur$3.19 billion
11Juventus$1.73 billion
12Borussia Dortmund$1.61 billion
13Atletico Madrid$1.56 billion
14AC Milan$1.2 billion
15Inter Milan$1.11 billion
16LAFC$900 million
17LA Galaxy$865 million
18Atlanta United$855 million
19Olympique Lyonnais$825 million
20Roma$765 million
21Club America$735 million
22Seattle Sounders$725 million
23Ajax$710 million
24Toronto FC$705 million
25DC United$700 million
26 Guadalajara$695 million
27 NYCFC$690 million
28Napoli$690 million
29Portland Timbers$685 million
30 West Ham United$665 million
Figures courtesy Sportico

Some observations:

Top 10 to 11th-place Juventus is a dramatic drop-off

According to the report, the Top 10 are mega-clubs with valuations that range from almost $6 billion to more than $3 billion. But the gap between 10th-place Tottenham Hotspur ($3.19 billion) and 11th-place Juventus ($1.73 billion) is almost $1.5 billion. Juventus might be one of the world’s greatest clubs and the most valuable organization in Serie A, but they compete in a league that simply hasn’t kept pace with the rest of Europe.

MLS rising

The Top 10 might be all European powerhouses, but three in the Top 20 are MLS clubs. Not bad for a league that calls it “soccer.” More telling, fully 18 of the world’s 50 most valuable clubs are from MLS — that’s more than any other league. The English Premier League is second with nine clubs, and Serie A is third with seven.

NYCFC are solid

New York City coming in at number 27 feels about right. The club are young, and without a stadium, and like every other MLS team earn only $10 million per year in broadcast revenue from Apple TV. (By contrast, Real Madrid made $363 million from broadcast rights according to Sportico.) But NYCFC are a well-run organization and have established themselves as the premier club in the largest city in the United States, and one of the most lucrative markets anywhere in the world.

DC what?

We have no sense of why DC United are valued at $700 million and ranked 25th. They have a nice stadium, and Washington DC is a good place to call home, but seriously? Guess lifting the MLS Cup all those times during the era of the 35-yard shootout count for more than we thought they might.

New Jersey Red Bulls are 50th

Our rivals to the east are valued at $525 million and just made the list at 50th place, right behind SS Lazio.

Sportico vs Forbes

While Sportico values NYCFC at $690 million, Forbes puts the amount at $800 million. What gives?

It’s impossible to say without looking at the books, but we do observe that Sportico is far more detailed and forthright about their methodology. They even get into specific sums, citing the matchday revenue of Paris Saint-Germain ($148 million) as the largest in global football, followed closely by that of Manchester United ($147 million).

Sportico consulted experts, who, in their words, included “10 sports bankers and attorneys who actively work on soccer transactions, as well as more than a dozen individuals at firms investing in global soccer franchises. We traded candor for anonymity. This information was vetted by multiple teams and industry experts.”

Further, Sportico claims that “nearly half of the teams or their parent companies” provided or validated information.

As for Forbes, they published the disclaimer that “All published figures are Forbes estimates; team values do not include stadiums, real estate or debt.” 

While we like the blockbuster numbers published by Forbes earlier this year, the figures from Sportico feel more realistic if no less eye-popping. If you believe the math, Chicago Fire are on par with Brazilian superclub Flamengo.

Crazy times.