Real Madrid take top money slot from Manchester United

The 20 highest earning football clubs in the world generated a record €8.3bn (£7.4bn) of combined revenue in 2017/18, an increase of 6% on the previous year, with six of the top 10 places going to English clubs, according to research from Deloitte

The firm’s annual Football Money League places Real Madrid top of the table with €750.9m total revenue, followed by Barcelona (€690.4m) and Manchester United (€666m).

Together, the three wealthiest clubs generated €2.1bn of collective revenue, more than double the aggregate revenue of the same top three clubs 10 years previously (2007/08 season). Revenue of almost €200m was required to secure a place in this year’s top 20.

Of the €8.3bn combined revenue for the top 20 clubs, broadcast remains the largest individual income stream, comprising 43% of total revenue. However, a noticeable trend has been the growth in commercial earnings, which now represent 40% of total revenue. Matchday revenue remains unchanged at 17%. 

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: ‘European football remains a bull market, with annual revenue growth of almost €450m in this year’s Football Money League. At the top, we have seen Real Madrid shatter records, becoming the first club to break the three-quarters of a billion euro mark and claim a record twelfth Money League title in the process.’

At €356.2m, Real Madrid now have the highest commercial revenue of any football club globally, demonstrating the international appeal of their brand.

Jones said: ‘Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017/18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles. This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever.’

Premier league

Despite Manchester United slipping from first to third overall, the English premier league provided six teams in the top 10 this year, the most ever from one country. Highest placed is Manchester City (£503.5m), at number five, whilst Liverpool (£455.1m) rank seventh after their 2017/18 Champions League Final appearance contributed to total revenue growth of £90.6m.

In addition, Chelsea (£448m) retained eighth place whilst Arsenal (£389.1m) slipped to ninth, as absence from the Champions League for the first time since 1997/1998 saw rivals outperform them financially.

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur (£379.4m total revenue) are back in the top ten for the first time since 2006/07, having capitalised on playing a full season at Wembley Stadium which has seen matchday revenue increase by £26.5m (54%).

Everton (£188.6m) and West Ham (£175.3m) both retain their places in the top 20, with the return of Newcastle United (£178.5m) to the Premier League in 2017/18 enabling them to secure 19th place.

Sam Boor, senior manager in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: ‘With the Premier League’s tender for the next cycle of domestic rights from 2019/20 complete and sale of overseas rights nearing conclusion, it is clear that Premier League clubs will be unable to rely on explosive growth in broadcast distributions as a source of future growth, as has been the case in recent years.

‘As a result, we expect an even greater emphasis among these clubs on generating their own growth in the coming season, and in particular the optimisation of commercial revenue, which has been a key area for differentiating growth across most of Europe’s leading clubs in recent years.’

Deloitte’s analysis suggests that teams like Paris Saint-Germain which signed renowned players Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappé in the summer of 2017 have seen a return on their investment both on and off the field.

Boor said: ‘Our research has identified how the potential for a marquee global star player to provide a competitive advantage off-pitch is perhaps gaining in importance as an element for clubs to consider when devising their transfer policy.

‘We have already seen evidence of how signing such players can have a positive financial impact, and next year it will be interesting to see if the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018 brings similar on and off-pitch benefits for Juventus, having slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2011/12.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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