Barcelona tops football revenues league table

Barcelona has been named the highest earning football club in the world, and the first to break the €800m (£686m) barrier, while Manchester United’s fortunes are on the wane, according to an annual survey from Deloitte

Together, the 20 highest earning football clubs in the world generated a record €9.3bn (£8.2bn) of combined revenue in 2018-19, an increase of 11% on the previous year.

The firm’s 23rd Football Money League shows the top five revenue generating clubs are FC Barcelona (€840.8m), Real Madrid (€757.3m), Manchester United (€711.5m), Bayern Munich (€660.1m) and Paris Saint-Germain (€635.9m).

Between them, the top five collectively generate more revenue than the 11 clubs ranked 10th to 20th.

In the top ranks, it is a Spanish one-two for the second consecutive year, but with the positions reversed and Real Madrid dropping to second place; the gap between first and second place is now the highest in the publication’s history (€83.5m).

Deloitte says FC Barcelona’s revenue increase can largely be attributed to the club’s decision to bring merchandising and licensing activities in-house. This has given the club additional control over how its products are promoted and sold and the ability to report this revenue on a gross, rather than a net, basis.

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: ‘Barca is a clear example of a club adapting to changing market conditions, reducing the reliance on broadcast revenue and focussing on growing revenues within its control.

‘Barca is on course to achieve its stated ambition to be the first €1bn Money League club in years to come.’

Paris Saint-Germain rose to fifth place, its highest position since 2014-15, pushing out Manchester City. The club generated €363.4m of commercial revenue, the second highest ever recorded, attributable to the signing of five new partners and the extension of contracts with six global brands.

Juventus regained 10th place as revenue increased 17% to €459.7m, helped by the arrival of marquee player Cristiano Ronaldo, who alone has more Instagram followers than Real Madrid and FC Barcelona combined.

The fortunes of the eight Premier League clubs in the table, the most from any of the main leagues, are more mixed. While Manchester United remains in third with revenue of £627.1m, the club is forecasting a revenue dip to £560-£580m in 2019-20 as a result of not qualifying for this season’s Champions League, a result that would likely see the Red Devils fall to their lowest ever position in next year’s edition.

This could also put the club at risk of losing its position as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club for the first time.

United’s closest domestic rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, generated revenues of £538.2m (€610.6m) and £533m (€604.7m) respectively in 2018-19.

Tottenham Hotspur is eighth in this year’s Money League, its highest ever position, overtaking Arsenal and Chelsea to become London’s highest revenue generating club for the first time since 1996-97. Spurs’ revenue increased 21% to £459.3m, which was largely attributable to increased revenue from broadcasters and commercial sources.

Arsenal slipped from ninth to 11th overall, highlighting the financial consequences of the club’s absence from the Champions League for the second consecutive season. As a result, the number of Premier League teams in the top 10 has reduced to five this year, from a record six in the previous year.

Looking ahead, Jones said: ‘The top 20 Money League clubs are on track to generate over €10bn collectively in a single year in the near future.

‘What is notable is the apparent continuing emergence of ‘mini-leagues within the Money League’, as the largest revenue-generating clubs continue to pull away from the rest.’

Broadcast remains the largest individual revenue stream, comprising 44% of total revenue. In the last five years the collective broadcast revenue of the top 20 clubs has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 11%, the most of any of the revenue streams.

Eye on the Prize, Football Money League 2020

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