Real Madrid & Barcelona continue to dominate football rich list as Manchester City enter top 10

  • Real Madrid crowned as world’s richest club for eighth year in a row
  • Top-six placings remain unchanged
  • Clubs from five different countries in top 20
  • Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund & Napoli climb most places – five
  • EPL has most representatives
  • Italy continue to struggle
  • Combined revenues grow 10 per cent

Real Madrid and Barcelona once more dominate football’s rich list as the Spanish duo are still miles ahead of their rivals from England, Germany, Italy and France. According to the 2012 Deloitte Football Money League, published on Thursday, the Liga giants remain the only clubs with annual revenue over €450 million.

Real Madrid top the Football Money League for the eighth year in succession, thus equalling Manchester United’s dominance in the top position during the first eight years of the Money League, and became the first club in any sport to surpass the €500m revenue threshold in a single year. 

“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,” Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte said.

However, the reigning Spanish champions are being chased hard by arch-rivals Barcelona, whose growth in 2011-12 leaves them only €17m short of the €500m mark. Even though the Catalans couldn’t quite match their on-pitch success from 2010-11, the club enjoyed €32.3m (seven per cent) revenue growth. 

United’s failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in 2011-12 meant they were unable to prevent a Spanish one-two for the fourth successive year, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side remain the proud number three in the rankings.

For the fifth successive year, the clubs comprising the top six places in the Money League remain the same. 

“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,” Jones commented.

The Money League top 20 again comprises clubs from the ‘big five’ European leagues, seven of which come from the English Premier League, while Italy have five teams in the top 20, and Germany four. Spain and France, meanwhile, have to settle for two representatives each.

“It’s always interesting to see the disparity between the top two in Spain and the rest of the league. There are no other Spanish clubs in the top 20. A key change that would improve the overall state of finances in Spanish football would be a collective broadcast deal. It sounds like the Spanish government have put collective payments on the agenda on that level which, if it happens, can only help with the competitiveness of the division,” Mark Roberts, Senior Consultant within the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, stated.

The top 10 consists of teams from only four leagues, as Ligue 1 sides Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais sit only 16th and 17th respectively.

Manchester City (seventh) 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.

“City’s Premier League title winning season combined with participation in the Champions League, helped drive 51% revenue growth to €285.6m, the largest absolute and relative growth of any Money League club,” Austin Houlihan, Senior Manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said.

As pointed out before, the English Premier League has the most representatives, and this situation seems unlikely to change any time soon.

“The Premier League still has the most representatives in the top 20 of the list. Clubs will get another €20-30m from the new broadcasting deal so in the future there will be more English clubs challenging for those positions. The most there has been in the list is eight but I think we could be seeing as much of half of the list represented by the Premier League,” Roberts pointed out.

Italy’s future on the other hand seems far less rosy as their facilities generally don’t match their reputation.

“The poor financial performance of Italian clubs goes back to their matchday revenues. Juventus have benefitted from their new stadium, which increased their matchday income by about €20m. For the Milan clubs and the Rome clubs, the stadia is a limiting factor on their revenue generation. They simply don’t have the facilities and don’t get the gates to compete with matchday incomes in other countries. Italy has gone to collective selling of broadcasting and that is a positive start in improving that,” said Roberts.

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.

“The combined revenues of the top 20 clubs have quadrupled since we began our analysis in 1996-97,” Jones explained.    

“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.”

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.”

All revenue figures in the Money League report are based on the 2011-12 season or the most recent available calendar year.

It focuses on each club’s revenues from day to day football operations, including matchday ticket and corporate hospitality sales, broadcast rights revenues including distributions from participation in European club competitions, sponsorship, merchandising, and other commercial operations, but excluding transfer income.

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