A loyal global fan base and lucrative TV revenues helped Spanish champions Real Madrid top the list for the eighth consecutive year and become the first club in any sport to generate more than €500m (£414m) in annual sales for the 2011/12 season.
The club was closely followed by La Liga rivals Barcelona, who reported €483m (£390.8m) sales for the period, while Manchester United was the most lucrative English Premier League in third despite a barren season in which they failed to win a trophy for the first time since 2005. The team could close the gap in coming seasons via £30m boost from the new Premier League TV deal in August and the start of a multi-million sponsorship deal with General Motors’ Chevrolet in 2014.
German club and Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich came fourth, European champions Chelsea were fifth and Arsenal came sixth in the list. Premier League winners Manchester City saw the largest growth of any club and moved up five places to seventh, generating earnings of €285.6 (£231.1m), in a year that saw the club heavily ramp up its social media offering to grow its overseas fanbase and appoint a new commercial director to exploit its new found appeal.
Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, says: “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.”
England had the most teams in the top 20 with seven, consolidating the Premier League’s position as the most dominate financial player in world football. Italy followed with five teams, Germany counts four teams in the list and France, two.
The combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest-earning football clubs reached €4.8bn (£4bn) in 2011/12.
Deloitte’s European Football Money League – Top 20
|Football Clubs||Annual Revenues 2011/12|