LOS ANGELES • The Dallas Cowboys have dethroned Real Madrid as the most valuable sports team in the world, according to a Forbes survey of the richest teams in the National Football League.
The Cowboys, often described as "America's Team" despite not having won the Super Bowl since 1995, topped the list with a value of US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion).
The spike was fuelled in part by the NFL's gargantuan domestic television deal.
The valuation puts the Cowboys ahead of Spanish football giants Real Madrid.
The latter were valued by financial publication Forbes at US$3.26 billion, according to a global list released earlier this year.
TOP 5 MOST VALUABLE SPORTS TEAMS
Dallas Cowboys (American football)
US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion)
Real Madrid (football)
New England Patriots (American football)
New York Yankees (baseball)
Two other US sports franchises, the NFL's New England Patriots and baseball's New York Yankees, were next with an estimated value of US$3.2 billion.
Reigning European football champions Barcelona claimed fifth position with an estimated value of US$3.16 billion.
English Premier League heavyweights Manchester United were valued at US$3.1 billion, according to a recent Forbes estimate.
The Cowboys have surged to the top, thanks to revenues of US$620 million - some US$100 million more than their nearest high-earning rivals in the NFL.
The third most valuable NFL team, according to Forbes, are the Washington Redskins at US$2.85 billion, with the New York Giants next at US$2.8 billion.
The San Francisco 49ers came in at US$2.7 billion, up nearly 70 per cent in value since their last appearance on the list.
The jump was linked to their move to a new state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara.
The average NFL team are now worth US$2 billion, the highest in the 18 years Forbes has been tracking the financial muscle of professional football teams.
It attributed the gain to a US$39 million jump in national revenue for each of the NFL's 32 teams, the bulk of which came from the start of new broadcasting deals.
According to Forbes, what the most valuable teams have in common is a presence in large markets and stadiums which provide them with more premium seating and sponsorship revenue than what other teams can generate.
Forbes said the 49ers' percentage jump in value was the largest one-year increase of any NFL team.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS