By Daniel Hunter
Real Madrid has become the first club in any sport to surpass the €500m revenue threshold in a single year, according to the 16th edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
The Spanish club achieved a €33.1m (7%) increase in revenue to €512.6m, and in doing so has claimed the top position in the Money League for a record equalling eighth year, matching Manchester United’s reign from 1996/97 to 2003/04.
The combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest earning football clubs have grown 10% on the previous year to reach €4.8bn in 2011/12.
Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “It is an impressive achievement for Real Madrid to have surpassed €500m in revenue in a single year. Real have led the way in the phenomenal rate of revenue growth achieved by the game’s top clubs, with the double digit (10%) increase by the top 20 clubs representing continued strong performance in these tough economic times. The combined revenues of the top 20 clubs have quadrupled since we began our analysis in 1996/97.
“Whilst eight of the top 20 clubs experienced a drop in revenue in 2011/12, in most cases this was due to less successful on-pitch performances in European club competitions, rather than wider recessionary impacts. Combined, the 20 Money League clubs contribute over one-quarter of the total revenues of the European football market. The top 20 can be expected to generate over €5bn between them in 2012/13.”
For the fifth successive year, the clubs comprising the top six places in the Money League — Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal — remain the same. FC Barcelona again claim second place in the rankings to complete a Spanish one-two for the fourth successive year.
Jones noted: “An unchanged top six emphasises the fact that these clubs have some of the largest fanbases and hence strongest revenues, in both domestic and international markets.”
There is one new entry to the Money League this year, with Newcastle United replacing Spanish club Valencia. Once again, the English Premier League contributes the most clubs to the Money League with seven clubs in the top 20 rankings, five of which appear in the top 10. A further four Premier League clubs sit just outside the top 20 (Everton, Aston Villa, Fulham and Sunderland).
Manchester City (7th) are this year’s joint highest climbers, along with Borussia Dortmund (11th) and Napoli (15th), moving up five places and claiming a top 10 position for the first time. The Premier League champions and Juventus replace Internazionale and Schalke 04 in the top 10.
Austin Houlihan, Senior Manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Manchester City’s Premier League title winning season combined with participation in the UEFA Champions League, helped drive 51% revenue growth to €285.6m, the largest absolute and relative growth of any Money League club. The club’s progress to the top of the English and European game means that they are set to remain a top 10 Money League club for the foreseeable future, and will look to push on ahead of the two English clubs immediately above them in the Money League, Arsenal and Chelsea, for a top five ranking.”
Chelsea’s feat in becoming the first London club to win the UEFA Champions League, allowed it to claim fifth place. However, an early exit from European competition this year and capacity constraints of their Stamford Bridge home could see them slip down the Money League next year.
Despite a dip in revenue, as a result of narrowly missing out on the Premier League title and early exits from the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup, Manchester United (3rd) continued to make great strides in their commercial operations.
Houlihan explained: “Manchester United continue to successfully leverage their global brand. The new world-record seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with General Motors will double the revenues the club receives from its shirt partner in the first season of the new deal in 2014/15. This combined with new Premier League broadcast deals from 2013/14, which will deliver incremental distributions of between £20m and £30m per club, will help Manchester United push the two Spanish clubs above them, for a top two ranking. Indeed the new Premier League deals could mean that half of the Money League top 20 are represented by English clubs in a few years’ time.”
Commenting on the impact of UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement, Paul Rawnsley, a Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte said: “Whilst the Money League covers clubs’ revenue performance, there is an increasing focus within European football on clubs achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure relative to revenues, particularly given UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement.
“Disciplined and responsible governance structures and financial management within European football, whilst providing the platform for investment in facilities and youth development, should only be encouraged.”
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