Leafs only NHL team to make Forbes top 50 list

The Toronto Maple Leafs were the only National Hockey League team named one of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world by Forbes Monday.

In November, Forbes announced that the Maple Leafs became the first NHL team worth US$1 billion, which was $250 million more than second most valuable team at the time, the New York Rangers.

The Leafs are ranked at No. 31 on the annual list that was topped by three soccer franchises this year.

Spanish soccer club Real Madrid topped the list worth an estimated $3.3 billion, according to the publication. They leapfrogged second-ranked Manchester United ($3.17B), which topped the list in 2012. Real Madrid’s La Liga rival, Barcelona rounded out the top three at $2.6 billion.

The New York Yankees of Major League Baseball were fourth at $2.3 billion and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League were fifth at $2.1 billion.

These five franchises were the only teams on the list valued at more than $2 billion.

The NFL was well represented, as 30 of the league’s 32 teams made the list. The Dallas Cowboys were ranked fifth at $2.1 billion. The New England Patriots (sixth), Washington Redskins (eighth) and New York Giants (ninth) were all in the top 10.

Only the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars were outside of the top 50, ranked 51st and 52nd, respectively.

Ranked No. 23 and worth $1.1 billion, the New York Knicks were the highest-ranked National Basketball Association team. The Los Angeles Lakers at $1B were tied with the Leafs for the 31st spot.

The average value of each team on the list is $1.24 billion, a 16 per cent increase over last year’s list.

With files from Associated Press