Manchester United have become the first sports team in the world to be valued at more than $3billion, according to Forbes.

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 $3.3billion (£2.1bn).

Forbes say United are ahead of the world's second-most-valuable sports team, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, who are worth $2.1bn (£1.4bn).

United shares were initially offered to the public at $14 and but have risen to just under $17.

It means a huge increase in the overall wealth of the Glazer family, who have a controlling interest in United, and billionaire investor George Soros - the 22nd richest person in the world - who bought a 7.5% stake in the club.

manchester united

United are top of the Premier League

United's commercial growth seems to be driving the share price up, with the club announcing several bizarre yet lucrative new sponsorship deals since August and unlike last season, they qualified for the Champions League knockout stages in the autumn.

The prospect of the £4bn Premier League television deals that are coming on stream from August could yet see shares rise even higher.

The Glazers sold 10% of their shares in the initial public offering sale in August but United's vice-chairman Ed Woodward insisted in October the family will not sell the club for "many, many years" despite ongoing interest.

A large portion of United fans remain staunchly anti-Glazer since the family's 2005 takeover however the club regularly record attendances in excess of 75,000 and are top of the Premier League.