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Real Madrid top Deloitte Football Money League

Tue 2nd Mar 2010 | Money & Finance

Real Madrid becomes the first sports team in the world to generate €400m in revenues as it tops Deloitte Football Money League

·       On-pitch dominance takes Barcelona second as Manchester United slip to third

·       Clubs remain recession resilient with the majority showing revenue growth

·       Arsenal climbs to fifth as seven English clubs feature in Top 20


Real Madrid remains the world’s largest revenue generating football club, for the fifth consecutive year, according to the latest Football Money League from business advisory firm Deloitte.  Real also becomes the first team in any sport to record revenues in excess of €400m in a single year. 

Barcelona overtook Manchester United to finish second, with the English Champions falling to third in the report, which ranks the 20 biggest football clubs in the world based on revenue. Analysis in the Football Money League covers the 2008/09 season and is the most contemporary and reliable analysis of clubs’ relative financial performance.

Overall revenues for the Top 20 clubs increased in 2008/09 and were over €3.9 billion, as top clubs showed relative resistance to the economic downturn.  Whilst combined revenue growth for the top 20 clubs slowed compared to previous years, the majority of clubs achieved revenue increases in local currency in 2008/09.


Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Real Madrid’s 10% increase in revenue to €401m (£342m) came despite a relatively disappointing season domestically and in Europe. Broadcast income provided Real with its largest increase in revenue, and at €161m (£137m) is now greater than the total revenue of all but the top ten Money League clubs.

“FC Barcelona’s unprecedented on-pitch success, winning a domestic double and the Champions League, helped drive a revenue increase by €57m, the largest absolute increase of any Money League club, to €366m.  This resulted in a Spanish one-two at the top of the Money League as, like in Rome last May, Barcelona proved just too strong for Manchester United.  United slip to third and, like other English clubs, were impacted by the continuing depreciation of the Pound Sterling against the Euro.  The scale of this is shown by the fact that if exchange rates remained at their June 2007 level, United would be top of the Money League table.”

Arsenal returned to the top five in the Money League after a one year absence, climbing one place to replace London rivals Chelsea, with a 7% increase in revenue to £224m (€263m).  Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Newcastle United complete the seven English clubs in this year’s Money League.

All of this year’s top 20 clubs are from the ‘big five’ European leagues with Germany contributing five clubs, Italy four, and France and Spain represented by two clubs each.

There is now almost a €50m gap between tenth and eleventh place in the Money League.  For certain clubs outside the top ten, consistent qualification for the Champions League combined with increased revenue opportunities from planned new facilities may allow them to bridge this gap.

Alan Switzer, Director in the Sports Business Group, said: “Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have created a clear revenue gap between themselves and their European competitors, and look set to contest the top two positions in the Money League for the foreseeable future, particularly if the Pound doesn’t strengthen against the Euro.  However, new improved Premier League broadcast contracts, and in particular strong growth in the value of the league’s international rights, will provide a revenue boost to English clubs from 2010/11.


Paul Rawnsley, Director in the Sports Business Group, commented:  “We continue to assert that the game’s top clubs are well placed to meet the challenges presented by the difficult economic environment.  Their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive broadcast audiences, and continuing attraction to corporate partners provide a strong base to underpin revenues.  This premise is supported by clubs’ revenue performance in 2008/09.  However it will not be until 2009/10, the season currently in progress, before we see the full impact on clubs’ revenues.

Jones concluded: “Whilst there has been much recent comment on the finances of English football clubs, we believe the fundamentals of football remain strong.  Financial problems experienced at the very highest level are far more likely to be a result of mismanagement, weak cost control or a lack of available credit than any problems with revenue generation.”

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