The NFL and the Premier League are heavily represented on the list, with champions Manchester City included.
The top 25 is mostly made up of NFL franchises and NBA teams, however there are four Premier League clubs and one other team from outside the English top flight.
Tottenham Hotspur have been the most profitable Premier League club for the past three years.
According to Forbes, Spurs have earned £333 million ($414 million) in operating income (profits before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) since 2020. Manchester United are £7 million ($9m) behind with total earnings of £324 million ($403m), but they are ahead of their cross-city rivals Manchester City, who have £264 million ($329m).
Liverpool, with an operating profit of £237 million ($295m), are the fourth and last side to appear in the top 25. The only teams separating the four (Tottenham third, Manchester United fifth, Manchester City tenth, and Liverpool twelveth) are NBA and NFL franchises.
With earnings of $235 million (£189m), Bayern Munich is the only other football team to appear alongside them on the list. They come in at number 25. Those sums are considerably less than what the Dallas Cowboys, the world’s most profitable sports team according to Forbes, are making.
They have a staggering £1 billion ($1.2m) operational profit for the 2019-2021 seasons. That is almost twice as much of their nearest rivals at the top of the list, the New England Patriots, who have £536 million ($623m).
The margin between the Pats and Tottenham will therefore be more than £200 million. The New York Knicks are the fourth NBA franchise to appear on the list.
Despite not winning a title since the 1970s, the Knicks remain the most profitable team in the league. Their earnings of £324 million ($404m) knock Manchester United to fourth place on the rankings.
The Houston Texans are sixth on the list, followed by the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, who sit between the New York Giants to round out the first nine names. The Los Angeles Rams are rated eleventh, in between Manchester City and Liverpool.
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In the top 25, there are the Washington Commanders, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Houston Rockets are among the other NBA teams featured. Forbes believes that the absence of MLB and NHL teams boils down in part to the fact that baseball and ice hockey are more reliant on ticket revenues, which dried up during the Covid-19 outbreak.
It’s also worth noting that their less lucrative media contracts diminish in comparison to the millions accumulated by NBA and NFL teams. The punitive competitive balance tax placed on baseball clubs is also cited as not reflecting a positive impact on them than on salary-capped sports teams.