NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As sports have gained in popularity over the years, owning a sports franchise has become an extremely lucrative investment.
Take the NFL for example. In 2010, Commissioner Roger Goodell set an annual revenue goal of $25 billion by 2027. At the time the NFL was reporting $8.5 billion in annual revenue, suggesting a revenue increase of $1 billion annually to reach that goal.
Across the pond, Premier League soccer clubs are set to generate a combined $4.67 billion in revenue this current season, a 25% increase from the previous season. Real Madrid of Spain's La Liga football league took in $709.8 million alone last season.
What is driving this jump in revenues? Broadcast television rights and licensing agreements. The NFL signed a nine-year extension with its broadcasting partners in 2011. Broadcast television, cable, satellite, radio, mobile and Internet media outlets will collectively pay about $7 billion annually to the league starting this year until the contract expires in 2022.
The league, which participates in revenue sharing with its 32 franchises, will divide that money up evenly, meaning every team will receive over $200 million for just being a part of the league. Factor in local television deals, ticket sales, jersey sales and stadium concessions and you get the Dallas Cowboys - the league's most profitable team - raking in $539 million in revenue last season.
The Premier League recently finalized local and international broadcast rights that will pay the league approximately $11 billion from 2013-2016. That money is then distributed amongst the top 20 clubs in the league. Its top earner, Manchester United, brought in $579.7 million in revenue last season.
Here is a look at the people gaining the most from this rise in revenue, the owners of the eight most valuable sports franchises in world.
Franchise: Real Madrid
Team Owner: Socio
Team Value: $3.3 Billion
2013 Revenue: $709.8 million
Real Madrid's ownership group is pretty unique amongst sports franchises as it is owned by its 93,000 annual dues paying membership; socios (translated "partners" or "members"). Each youth member pays about $69 dollars while adults pay about $200 annually for the right to be a part of the club.
The club's business is handled by the club's management board, headed by board President Florentino Perez. The socios elect the president every four years, but do not have any say over the team's finances or player acquisition decisions.
Franchise: Manchester United (MANU)
Team Owner: The Glazer Family
Team Value: $3.165 billion
2013 Revenue: $579.7 million
Malcolm Glazer, CEO of First Allied Corporation, made his first foray into the professional sports world when he purchased the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 for $192 million. In 2003 Glazer made his move across the pond when he upped his stake in the former publicly traded Manchester United football club to 15% from 3.2%. Over the next two years he incrementally took control of 98% of the team at a final purchase price of $1.5 billion dollars. After initially taking the team private, the Glazer family made the team partially public again in 2012, selling 16.7 million shares, 10% of the club, raising $233 million in revenue. Malcolm Glazer's net worth is estimated at $4.5 billion.
Franchise: FC Barcelona
Team Owner: Socios
Team Value: $2.6 billion
2013 Revenue: $660.1 million
Like fellow La Liga club Real Madrid, FC Barcelona has no single owner and are instead supported by three tiers of fans. The 170,000 socios who vote in the team's presidential elections, the 1,335 registered penyes or fan clubs who often make donations to the team and non-dues paying fans of the team affectionately referred to as the culers or ass people. According to some estimates Barca is followed by 25% of Spain's football fans.
FC Barcelona's team features Lionel Messi who widely believed to be the best football player on the planet. The team also signed budding Brazilian star Neymar to a $74 million deal last year. Led by Messi, Barcelona has won three of the last four La Liga titles including last season's championship.
Franchise: New York Yankees
Team Owner: Steinbrenner Family
Team Value: $2.5 billion
2013 Revenue: $461 million
The Steinbrenner family has been at the helm of the New York Yankees since 1973 when George Steinbrenner led a group of investors in purchasing the team from CBS for $8.8 million. Steinbrenner became one of the most well-known owners in pro sports and oversaw the Yankees meteoric rise in popularity.
The New York Yankees are an iconic brand in baseball and the sport's most recognizable franchise. The Yankees won the pennant seven times under George's stewardship, including three from 1998-2000. "The Boss" as he was referred to retired in 2006, the same year ground was broken on the Yankees new $1.5 billion stadium, leaving the teams operation to his sons Hal and Hank. Steinbrenner passed in 2010 at the age of 80.
Franchise: Dallas Cowboys
Team Owner: Jerry Jones
Team Value: $2.3 billion
2013 Revenue: $539 million
Jerry Jones is the Los Angeles born, Arkansas raised owner, president and general manager of America's most popular football team. The oil magnate purchased the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million, leading the Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories over the next six years. After that initial run of success the Cowboys have had minimal victories on the field -- the team has one playoff victory since their 1995 Super Bowl win -- but that hasn't stopped the team from being the most profitable franchise in the NFL. Jerry Jones current net worth is estimated at $2.7 billion.
Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers
Owner: Guggenheim Baseball Group
Team Value: $2.15 billion
2013 Revenue: $293 million
The Guggenheim Partners, the New York based global financial services firm, purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2012 for $2.15 billion dollars. The ownership group was headed by controlling partner Mark Walter, Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson and a consortium of other partners. The team features high priced acquisitions like pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez who is in the midst of a seven year $154 million contract with the team. The team's total payroll is the highest in the league this year at $235.2 million.
Franchise: New England Patriots
Team Owner: The Kraft Family
Team Value: $1.8 billion
2013 Revenue: $408 millon
Robert Kraft is the CEO of The Kraft Group, a company with holdings in multiple industries. Kraft became owner of the Patriots after purchasing the team for a then NFL record $175 million in 1994. The former season ticket holder purchased what was at the time one of the least valuable franchises in the league to keep the former owner from moving the franchise to Arizona. 20 years and three Super Bowl championships later, Kraft's investment in his hometown team has paid off. Robert Kraft estimated net worth is $2.3 billion.
Franchise: Washington Redskins
Team Owner: Daniel Snyder
Team Value: $1.7 billion
2013 Revenue: $381 million
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder purchased the team and its stadium for $800 million following the death of the franchise's former owner Jack Kent Cooke in 1999. At the time it was the largest sum paid for a franchise in sports history. Snyder, a native of suburban Washington D.C., became the youngest CEO of a New York Stock Exchange traded company in 1996 at the age of 32. The team's dismal performances since Snyder gained control of the team hasn't hurt its value as it remains the third most profitable franchise in the NFL. Daniel Snyder's net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion.