Manchester United has become the first sports team in the world to be valued at more than $3 billion, Forbes Magazine reported Monday.
A surge in the club's shares after a poor start when they were offered on the New York Stock Exchange in August has seen the overall value of United rise to $3.3 billion.
According to Forbes, United is comfortably ahead of the world's second-most-valuable sports team, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.1 billion.
The United shares were initially offered to the public at $14 and are now worth just under $17. The market cap -- or the outstanding value of the team's market share -- is $2.78 billion.
The demand for shares of the 19-time English champion grew after better earnings and new sponsorship deals with Japan's Kansai and China Construction Bank, despite a drop in first-quarter earnings because of a reduction in television revenue.
Demand for shares may continue because of the club's EPL standings and Champions League potential.
It means a huge increase in the overall wealth of the Glazer family, which has a controlling interest in United, and billionaire investor George Soros -- the 22nd richest person in the world -- who bought a 7.5 percent stake in the club.
The Glazers sold 10 percent of their shares in the initial public offering sale in August, but United vice chairman Ed Woodward insisted in October the family will not sell the club for "many, many years" despite ongoing interest.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.