Manchester United lost the Premier League title on the last day of the season in heartbreaking fashion, when rival Manchester City scored a last-minute goal to defeat Queens Park Rangers and clinch its first title ever in May.
Man City’s win prevented Manchester United from winning a second straight Premier League title–and record twentieth overall–disappointing the team’s 659 million fans around the world.
The Red Devils still lay claim to another title, though: The world’s most valuable sports team.
Forbes estimates Manchester United is now worth $2.23 billion, 19% more than No.
2 Real Madrid, worth $1.88 billion.
Manchester United fans will once again get a chance to own a piece of the iconic club as the Glazer family filed plans this month for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Glazers took the club private in 2005 in a leveraged buyout worth $1.47 billion (the team traded on the London Stock Exchange before then).
Don’t expect to be picking the next manager if you buy shares.
The Glazers intend to keep control of the club through a dual-class voting stock, where the Glazers’ shares will be worth 10 votes apiece, while the public gets one vote for each share.
Dual-class shares are unusual, but a number of high-profile companies, including Facebook, LinkedIn and The New York Times, use them to retain control at the top while they sell ownership stakes to the public.
With the offering, the team can reduce its hefty debt load, which stood at $663 million as of March.
Manchester United has a host of lucrative sponsorships in place.
Insurer Aon pays $31 million a year to put its name on the team’s jerseys in a deal that runs through 2014.
Last year, DHL Express inked a four-year deal with the club worth a reported $62 million to sponsor Manchester United’s practice jerseys.
It is the first case of a practice jersey sponsorship deal for soccer in the U.K.
Nike manages the team’s merchandise sales and the agreement is worth a minimum of $39 million annually for Manchester United based on overall sales in a deal through 2015.