Real Madrid retains revenue top spot but Man U drops to third

Real Madrid has become the first club in any sport to generate revenues in excess of €400m in a single year, according to a study.

The Spanish club has retained its position at the top of Deloitte’s “Football Money League” for the fifth straight year with revenues of €401.4m (£341.9m) in the 2008/09 season.

English Premier League champions Manchester United dropped to third with earnings of €327m (£278.5m), while Champions League winners FC Barcelona leapfrogged United to take second place with €365.9m (£311.7m).

Real Madrid’s coffers were boosted by an improved television contract with Mediapro believed to be worth €1.1bn (£900m) over seven years. Barcelona’s revenues were boosted by on-field success. The club won the 2008/09 Spanish League as well as the Champions League trophy.

United, along with all other English clubs, were hit by the weakness of the pound against the Euro.

Despite the ascendancy of the two Spanish clubs and the financial difficulties faced by some English clubs, Premier League teams accounted for four of the top ten biggest revenue generators.

Arsenal moved from sixth to fifth place with €263m (£224m), while London neighbour Chelsea is in sixth spot on €242.3m (£206.4m).

Liverpool is seventh with €217m (£184.8m).

Paul Rawnsley, director in Deloitte’s sports business group, says football’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,” he says.

The report found that the combined revenues of the top 20 football money league clubs increased to €3.9bn (£3.5bn) in 2008/09, up €26m (£23m) on the previous year.

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