Football to tackle downturn, says Deloitte

Long-term sponsorship and broadcast rights deals should mean that Europes top football clubs can ride out the economic downturn, according to Deloitte.

Long-term sponsorship and broadcast rights deals should mean that Europe’s top football clubs can ride out the economic downturn, according to Deloitte.

In its annual Football Money League report, which saw Real Madrid and Manchester United retain their positions as Europe’s richest clubs, Deloitte says loyal fans and agreed sponsorship and television deals should mean football remains “relatively resistant”.

The report comes the week after English Premier League clubs received a financial fillip from its latest broadcast deal with BSkyB. The broadcaster reportedly paid £1.6bn, a 4% bump on the last deal, to show live Premier League games from 2010 through to 2013.

Deloitte adds that average attendances in Europe’s top leagues – England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France – have been “encouraging”.

However, it says the full impact of the downturn on club revenues, sponsorship deals, and corporate hospitality will not be felt until the 2009/10 season, adding that clubs are already saying that the economic situation “is squeezing marketing and hospitality budgets”.

The Money League shows Spain’s Real Madrid to be Europe’s biggest revenue generator, accumulating €365.8 during the 2007/08 season. Premier League champions Manchester United stay in second place with €324.8m.

There are three other English clubs in the top ten – Chelsea, which this week sacked manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, claimed fifth spot with €268.9m, Arsenal sixth with €264.4m and Liverpool are seventh after generating €210.9m in revenues last season.

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