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The 20 highest earning football clubs in the world generated €6.6 billion of revenue last season, an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year, according to the 19th edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
Real Madrid top the Deloitte Football Money League for the eleventh year in a row, having generated €577 mliion in the 2014/15 season. Commercial revenue was the main driver of this growth, increasing by €22.7 million from the previous season. Matchday income also saw an increase of €9.1 million. Broadcast revenue, however, fell by €4.3 million during the season.
“For the first time, the top three clubs in the Football Money League have all passed the €500 million revenue mark,” noted Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. “Real Madrid once again delivered a strong financial performance, buoyed by growth in their commercial revenue. The planned redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabéu will help to continue the growth in matchday income in the coming years.”
“FC Barcelona’s on-pitch achievements in the 2014/15 season have translated to financial success. The European champions have climbed to second place at the expense of Manchester United, with revenue growth across all areas of the business – matchday, broadcast and commercial.”
Manchester United, although slipping one place to third, remain the highest revenue-generating club from the Premier League, earning €519.5 million. Chelsea fell one place to eighth, with Arsenal climbing to seventh. Manchester City and Liverpool are the other two Premier League clubs in the top 10, placing sixth and ninth respectively.
“Despite a reduction in revenue year-on-year, the fact that Manchester United remain in the top three of the Money League demonstrates the underlying strength of the club’s business model,” advised Tim Bridge, Senior Manager at Deloitte. “The return to Champions League football, as well as the commencement of a number of significant commercial partnerships, will only strengthen the business in 2015/16. With this in mind, it would not be surprising to see United top next year’s Money League for the first time in 12 years, with the club forecasting revenues of around £500m (€650m).”
This year’s Football Money League has also seen movement amongst Europe’s football giants, with Bayern Munich falling from third to fifth place, their lowest position since 2006/07. The German champions were leapfrogged by Paris Saint-Germain, the only French team in the top 20, following another year of growth and a revenue of €480.8 million. Despite a successful Champions League campaign for Juventus, and Roma’s jump from 24th to 16th, it has been a disappointing season for Italian clubs in revenue terms. Both Inter and AC Milan have slipped two places in the last year, with the former close to dropping out of the top 20 of the Money League for the first time.
“The 2014/15 Money League has been another year of growth for the ‘big five’ European leagues,” added Jones. “However, we have also seen a slowdown of growth from the top five clubs, with revenues growing by just four per cent year on year, compared to 11 per cent in the previous edition. It may be hard for new clubs to break into the top 10 in the short term, given the €43.3 million revenue gap between 10th and 11th place.”
A 10 per cent strengthening of sterling versus the Euro helped English clubs. A record nine Premier League clubs are ranked within this year’s top 20, one more than in last year’s edition. In their first appearance since 2005/06, West Ham United have once again joined the world’s revenue-generating elite, as revenues rose by £5.9 million to £122.4 million (€160.9m). Premier League clubs now dominate the top 30, with 17 of those clubs having played in the Premier League during the 2014/15 season.
“Despite disappointing performances by Premier League clubs in recent European competitions, they continue to lead the way in revenue terms. With the new round of Premier League broadcast deals set to deliver greatly improved domestic broadcast revenues in 2016/17, we expect to see Premier League clubs cementing their places in the top 30 in the coming years, with potential for some of these to climb into the top 20,” concluded Bridge.