Manchester United’s status as one of the most valuable sports organisations in the world remains intact despite their lack of success over the past few years.

However, a return to the Champions League is imperative if United are to retain their position towards the top of the list, and the 888sports blog and other bookmakers have them as favourites to do so this season.

According to Forbes, the Red Devils are the sixth biggest sports franchise in the world, with the likes of New England Patriots, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors just behind them.

Read on as we take a look at the latest state-of-play and assess the damage that a prolonged absence from the Champions League could do to United.

A steady slip in value could snowball

United were the world’s only professional sports organisation worth more then $2 billion in 2012, but there are now over 50.

Despite silverware proving hard to come by over the past few seasons, United were valued at $3.81bn last year.

That figure represented an eight percent year-on-year decrease and the trend may continue if the club fails to deliver success on the field.

Participation in the Champions League is crucial for United, not only in terms of broadcast exposure, but also as a factor in the club’s ability to attract top players.

Spanish duo mixing with US behemoths

Barcelona and Real Madrid are both in the top five, with the latter claiming third on the list just ahead of their biggest rivals.

Madrid’s value rose by four percent in 2019 to $4.24bn, although they remain some way behind the top two in the standings.

Dallas Cowboys lead the way with a value of over $5bn, while New York Yankees enjoyed 15 percent growth to move up to $4.6bn.

Barca’s $4.02bn puts them just in front of the New York Knicks whose 11 percent increase in value saw them rise to $4bn.

Champions League absence beginning to bite

While United remain at the forefront of worldwide sports organisations in terms of value, their lofty position is far from secure.

From a purely football perspective, United’s £627.1 million annual earnings puts them third in the 2020 Deloitte Football Money League behind Barca and Real Madrid.

However, if they miss out on the Champions League for a second successive year that figure could fall to around £560m.

That leaves them facing the prospect of coming under pressure from both Liverpool and Manchester City when the next set of figures are published.

Two bites at a lucrative cherry

United’s profits fell by 18 percent in the six months ending December 31, 2019, from £57.9m down to £47.5m.

Broadcast revenues dropped significantly due to their absence from the Champions League, highlighting the importance of returning to UEFA’s top club competition next term.

United still have two opportunities to qualify, either via their final league position or by winning the Europa League.

Missing out again would certainly be damaging from a financial perspective and leave United’s status as one of the top 10 sports organisations by value under severe threat.