The news came as United faced the prospect of nearest rivals, Manchester City closing the gap at the top of the table with a Tuesday night win at QPR.
Forbes, the reknowned business and financial news publication said it has given the United a revised valuation following the upturn in the performance of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). United’s much-hyped initial public offering (IPO) had made a disappointing debut on the NYSE in August with shares failing to rise beyond their base pricing of $14. Heading into the first day of trading United had reduced the pricing of its IPO to $14 after initially stating it would offer 16.7 million shares between $16 and $20, a pricing that would have given the club a top-range valuation of $3.3 billion.
The IPO saw United’s owners, the Glazer family, sell 10% of their shares in the club. United’s share price on the NYSE stood at $16.48 for a market capitalisation of $2.7 billion at close of trading on Monday. Forbes said the rise of the stock price has pushed up United’s enterprise value, which represents equity plus debt, to $3.3 billion.
By contrast, the second most valuable sports team in the world, the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys, are some way behind on $2.1 billion. United’s commercial growth appears to be driving the share price up, with the club announcing several new sponsorship deals this season, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, and set to reap the rewards of the huge new Premier League television deals that come into effect from the 2013-14 season.
Forbes last published its complete study of sports team valuations in July, with United standing top with $2.23 billion. With Real Madrid occupying second position, football locked out the top-two positions in the top-10, with the sport boasting four teams in the upper reaches of the list, along with the National Football League (NFL).
Major League Baseball (MLB) placed two teams inside the top-10. Spanish Primera Division champion Real was valued at $1.88 billion. Real’s great rival FC Barcelona placed eighth with a valuation of $1.31 billion, while Premier League club Arsenal took 10th spot with $1.29 billion.