Escalating payouts from television agreements, shirt and kit deals, sponsors, and the Champions League are continuing to fuel higher values for the world's top soccer teams. As a result, investors who feasted on soccer teams during the past decade or so are now looking very smart--especially those who bought English teams.

UEFA increased the Champions League payout by roughly 50% for the three cycle beginning with 2015-16. Spain's Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who will play at San Siro in Milan in this year's final, will earn each earn over $100 million from their Champions League participation.

Top Champions League Distributions 2014-15
(April 20, 2016 exchange rate)

Team Payment
1. Juventus $101 mil
2. Barcelona $69 mil
3. Paris Saint-Germian $64 mil
4. Real Madrid $59 mil
5. AS Monaco $59 mil
6. Bayern Munich $57 mil
7. AS Roma $52 mil
8. Manchester City $52 mil
9. Atletico Madrid $50 mil
10. Chelsea $44 mil

The 20 most valuable soccer teams in the world are worth an average of $1.44 billion, 24% more than the top 20 teams were worth a year ago. Credit richer television deals, like the three-year, $7.9 billion agreement between the English Premier League with Sky Sports and BTSport that starts with the 2016-17 season, and more lucrative uniform deals, the prime example being the $107 million a year arrangement between Manchester United and .

The most valuable team for the fourth consecutive year is Real Madrid, which is taking on Atletico Madrid in this year's Champions League final. Real Madrid has generated more revenue than any soccer team for 11 straight seasons. Real is worth $3.65 billion, 12% more than last year and more than any sports team in the world not named the Dallas Cowboys ($4 billion).

Most Valuable Sports Teams

Team Value
1. Dallas Cowboys $4 bil
2. Real Madrid $3.65 bil
3. Barcelona $3.55 bil
4. New York Yankees $3.4 bil
5. Manchester United $3.32 bil

Nipping at Real's heels are Barcelona, worth $3.55 billion, also 12% higher than a year ago. Barcelona may soon overtake their Spanish rival because of a $400 million remaking of its home grounds, Camp Nou, which is expected to be completed in about five years.

The third most valuable soccer team is Manchester United, which are publicly traded. The listed shares had an enterprise value of around $3 billion at the time I was wrapping up my list. But I reckon there's a discount built into the price given the Glazer family's controlling interest. I peg the value of the Red Devils at $3.32 billion, 7% more than last year. With operating income of $190 million during the 2014-15 season, Manchester United is the most profitable team on our list, but sits behind the NFL's Dallas Cowboys ($270 million) and New England Patriots ($195 million) in profitability among all sports teams.

Forbes World Soccer Valuations Coverage Continues Here

The Premier League's large advantage in television money explains why eight of the top 20 most valuable soccer teams are English, as well as five of the top 10. Even in the U.S., where the Premier League and Bundesliga have deals with NBC Sports and Fox Sports, respectively, television ratings have been solid for the English side and weak for the Germans. Still, the German league's next domestic television deal, currently being negotiated, should be at least 30% higher then its current agreement. It is the aggregate television and sponsorship payouts that largely determine the order of the 20 most valuable teams.

The Five Biggest Domestic TV Deals In Sports

League Annual Average Period
National Football League $6.68 bil 2014-21
English Premier League $2.60 bil 2017-19
National Basketball Assoc. $2.67 bil 2016-23
Major League Baseball $1.55 bil 2014-21
Italian Serie A $1.08 bil 2016-18

The Five Biggest Domestic TV Deals In Soccer

League Annual Average Period
English Premier League $2.60 bil 2017-19
Italian Serie A $1.08 bil 2016-18
Spanish La Liga $972 mil 2017-19
French Ligue 1 $798 mil 2017-20
German Bundesliga $690 mil 2014-17

Each of the top European leagues--Premier, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga--allocate television money differently with the goal of trying to have both competitive leagues and reward teams for their performance on the pitch. Beginning with the 2016-17 season, La Liga, which has allowed team to negotiate individual deals, will use a centralized system that slices the money far more evenly. The upshot will be to diminish the huge advantage Real Madrid and Barcelona have had in television revenue. Here are the soccer teams that earned the most from television during the 2014-15 season.

Soccer Team TV Earnings 2014-15

Team Amount
1. Barcelona $192 mil
2. Real Madrid $189 mil
3. Chelsea $167 mil
4. Manchester City $166 mil
5. Manchester United $163 mil
6. Arsenal $163 mil
7. Liverpool $156 mil
8. Tottenham Hotspur $150 mil
9. Southampton $139 mil
10. Everton $136 mil
11. Swansea City $136 mil
12. Newcastle United $131 mil
13. Stoke City $131 mil
14. Crystal Palace $103 mil
15. West Ham United $129 mil
16. Wst Bromwich Albion $123 mil
17. Leicester City $121 mil
18. Aston Villa $116 mil
19. Juventus $113 mil
20. Hull City $112 mil

These teams rake in the most money from shirt, kit and stadium naming rights sponsors (including training grounds).

Teams That Make Most Money From Kit and Shirt Deals

(includes stadium and training ground naming rights)

Team Annual Average
1. Real Madrid $220 mil
2. Manchester United $209 mil
3. Bayern Munich $111 mil
4. Chelsea $99 mil
5. Arsenal $86 mil
6. Barcelona $81 mil
7. Liverpool $79 mil
8. Manchester City $74 mil
9. Juventus $53mil
10. Paris Saint-Germain $51 mil

Our valuations are not strictly correlated with revenue. For example, Arsenal, which generated revenue of $524 million during 2014-15, are ranked fifth with a value of $2.02 billion, while Manchester City, which had revenue of $558 million, are ranked sixth with a value of $1.92 billion. I think a prospective buyer would pay more for the London team because of its decisive market advantage. One way this is already expressed is with Arsenal's Premier League-leading ticket price. Arsenal gets $2,895 versus $1,294 for Man City.

Soccer's Most Expensive Season Tickets 2015-16

1. AC Milan: $5,177
2. Palmero: $4,305
3. Lazio: $4,304
4. Fiorentina: $3,814
 5. Arsenal: $2,895
6. Tottenham Hotspur: $2,725
7. Inter Milan: $2,588
8. Real Madrid: $2,099
9. Chelsea: $1,798
10. AS Roma: $1,740

Meanwhile, as revenue has increased significantly for these teams, those who invested in them have made a bundle--at least on paper.

In 2003, Roman Abramovich paid $233 million for Chelsea, and poured in a few hundred million more underwriting losses to turn the team around on the pitch by bringing to London players like Arjen Robben and Ashley Cole. Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012 and the Premier League title last year.