MANCHESTER United have become the first outfit in world sport to be valued at more than £2bn, according to Forbes, following a surge in the club’s share price.
United’s $3.3bn (£2.1bn) enterprise value is 50 per cent greater than their nearest challenger, American football team Dallas Cowboys, who are worth $2.1bn (£1.3bn) according to the US business publication.
Shares in the Premier League leaders were offered on the New York Stock Exchange at $14 in August and initially performed badly, dipping to around $12 within a month.
But they have rallied in the past week and, despite a slight drop yesterday, were trading at between $16 and $17 per share.
The increase in price has been attributed in part to the club’s strong commercial performance, with United announcing deals with Japanese paint maker Kansai and Chinese Construction Bank earlier this month.
United were last week placed third, behind Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Deloitte’s Football Money League, which ranks clubs by their turnover.
The Old Trafford side, which is controlled by the American Glazer family, recorded revenue of £320m last season, the most recent for which accounts are available, down from £331m in 2010-11.
Deloitte predicts United’s revenue is likely to rise this term due in part to improved performance in the Champions League, and possibly the Premier League. United currently sit five points clear of champions Manchester City in the top flight and have reached the last 16 in Europe’s top competition, a feat they failed to achieve last season.