The combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest earning football clubs have surpassed €4 billion for the first time, according to the latest Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm. They generated a total of €4.3 billion in revenue, up 8% on the previous year.
For the sixth consecutive year, Real Madrid claims top spot as the world’s largest football club according to this measure. Real is now just two years short of matching Manchester United’s eight year reign from 1996/97, the first edition of the Money League, through to 2003/04.
FC Barcelona retains second place ahead of Manchester United, making it a Spanish one-two for the second successive year. Analysis in the Deloitte Football Money League covers the 2009/10 season and is the most contemporary and reliable analysis of clubs’ relative financial performance.
Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “All bar three of the top 20 clubs achieved revenue growth during 2009/10 demonstrating the continued resilience of football’s top clubs as the full impact of the global economic downturn took hold. The game’s top clubs have proved themselves well-placed to meet these economic challenges given their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive broadcast audiences, and continuing attraction to corporate partners.
“Despite its relatively modest on-pitch performance, by the club’s own high standards, Real held a €41m revenue advantage over Barcelona in 2009/10. However, Barca’s revenues should exceed €400m in the next edition of the Money League, only the second club – along with their Spanish rivals – in any sport to do so. The club has now entered into its first paid for multi-year shirtfront sponsorship deal, for a guaranteed minimum of €165m over the duration of the contract, a new world record. We expect the battle for top spot in the Money League to be between Spain’s two superclubs for the next few years at least.”
Whilst Spanish clubs claim the top two positions in the Money League, England retains the largest representation from any single country, with seven clubs. Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all retained their previous years’ positions of third, fifth and sixth, respectively. Liverpool slipped one place to eighth.
Manchester City is the biggest climber in this year’s Money League, moving up nine places from 11th from 20th. After significant investment in the playing squad, the club finished fifth in the Premier League, its highest placing since the league began. The club also recorded its highest ever revenues, with an increase of £38m (44%) to £125m (€153m), the largest absolute and relative growth of any Money League club this year. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur are one place behind Manchester City, and having qualified for the UEFA Champions League in 2010/11 for the first time, will also challenge Liverpool for the mantle of the fourth highest earning English club and a top 10 position overall in the Money League. Aston Villa returns to the top 20 after a five year absence following Wembley appearances in both domestic cup competitions in 2009/10.
All of this year’s top 20 clubs are from the ‘big five’ European leagues with England contributing seven, Germany and Italy four clubs each, Spain three clubs and France two.
Alan Switzer, Director in the Sports Business Group, said: “Consistent on-pitch performance and participation in the UEFA Champions League have proved essential in maintaining a top spot in the Money League. Fourteen of the top 20 clubs participated in the Champions League in 2009/10, and six clubs in the reformatted and renamed UEFA Europa League from the Group phases onwards.
“Whilst Manchester City has rocketed up the Money League this year from 20th to 11th, the revenue that Spurs will receive from participating in Europe’s top clubs’ competition in 2010/11 will provide a substantial boost. The club’s progression to the knock-out stages of the Champions League and continued on-pitch success in the Premier League this season, coupled with Juve’s failure to qualify for the Champions League in 2010/11, will likely see the London side usurp the Italian club for 10th spot in the Money League next year.”
Paul Rawnsley, Director in the Sports Business Group, added: “Despite the difficult economic times we would not be surprised to report that revenues have grown again when we cover the current season in next year’s report, as bigger central overseas broadcast deals and some strong sponsorship deals strengthen English clubs’ revenue position further.”
Commenting on the potential implications of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Rawnsley added: “Outside exceptional circumstances, such as investment in stadia or the arrival of new owners, FFP will require football clubs to balance their books, ensuring expenditure does not significantly exceed revenue over time. Therefore, the strong showing of English clubs in the Money League provides encouragement about the future competitive health of English football. Whilst the two Spanish giants will take some catching, English clubs will continue to compete for leading transfer targets and offer attractive salaries in comparison to the vast majority of their European rivals.”
To review the full findings of the Deloitte Football Money League, please visit: www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup.