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Deloitte Football Money League 2012

Dan Jones

Welcome to the 15th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League, in which we profile the highest earning clubs in the world’s most popular sport. Published nine months after the end of the 2010/11 season, the Money League is the most contemporary and reliable analysis of clubs’ relative financial performance.

Whilst there are a number of non-financial methods that can be used to determine a clubs’ relative size – including measures of attendance, fanbase, broadcast audience, or on-pitch success – we focus on clubs’ ability to generate revenue from day to day football operations. We therefore rank clubs based on the money coming in. We do not consider a club’s budget for outgoings, what someone might pay to buy or invest in a club or owner wealth.

Strength in numbers

The top 20 clubs generated combined revenues of over €4.4 billion in 2010/11, which is the focus of this edition, a 3% increase on the previous year. This represents over a quarter of the total revenues of the European football market.

Continued growth in revenues of the top 20 emphasises the strength of football’s top clubs in these tough economic times. Whilst clubs have undoubtedly had to adjust their approach in certain areas, the large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive strong broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners has made them relatively resistant to the economic downturn.

Whilst, in their home currency, six of the top 20 clubs experienced a drop in revenue, this was mostly due to less successful on-pitch performance, particularly in European competition, and the resulting decreases
in central distributions and matchday revenues rather than wider recessionary impacts. Nine of the 20 clubs enjoyed double digit percentage revenue growth in 2010/11.

The huge fan interest in both domestic and international markets underpin the brand strength of football’s very top clubs and means there is limited movement in positions at the top of the Money League. For the fourth successive year, the clubs comprising the top six remain the same with no movement amongst these six for the last three years.

El clásico

Real Madrid top the Money League for the seventh successive year with an impressive €41m (9%) revenue growth to €480m in 2010/11. One more year in top position will match the dominance of Manchester United during the first eight years of the Money League. A phenomenal achievement.

FC Barcelona retain second place, maintaining a Spanish one-two for the third successive year, with a €53m (13%) growth driving revenues beyond €450m. Nonetheless they remain €29m behind their arch rivals.

The full impact of Barca’s shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation worth an average of €30m a season and US$5m (€3.5m) prize money gained from winning the FIFA Club World Cup will boost the club’s revenue in 2011/12. This may allow it to narrow, or even bridge, the gap to Real. However, relative on-pitch performance particularly in the Champions League, may determine next year’s top two Money League placings.

In any case, both clubs are closing in on revenues of €500m and are likely to pass this threshold within the next few years. Each club’s annual revenues have grown by almost €200m compared with five years before, a remarkable achievement.

Euro boost

As a result of the club’s run to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League German club Schalke 04 is this year’s biggest climbers, jumping six places and breaking into the Money League top ten for the first time. Not since our very first edition covering the 1996/97 season has another German club, Borussia Dortmund, joined Bayern Munich in the top ten.

Schalke push Italian giants Juventus out of the top ten. Aside from Schalke, the other nine clubs in the top ten have maintained a position in the top half of the Money League for each of the last eight years.

The German club’s strong Champions League performance means Tottenham just miss out on a top ten position despite achieving the second highest rate of revenue growth amongst Money League clubs
– 36% (£44m) – following its first participation in the Champions League.

The emergence of Manchester City within European club football’s elite, supported by heavy investment from the club’s Abu Dhabi based owners, and participation in the Champions League in 2011/12 means that the club looks set to break into the top ten from next year, at the expense of Schalke who missed out on Champions League qualification in 2011/12.

Emerging forces

There are three new entrants in the top 20 with Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Napoli replacing Atlético de Madrid, VfB Stuttgart and Aston Villa.

Dortmund’s resurgent on-pitch form, which resulted in Die Borussen lifting the Bundesliga, provided a €33m (£30m) increase in revenue, allowing the club to return to the Money League after a one year absence. Indeed, French champions Lille is the only club of the ‘big five’ domestic league title winners in 2010/11 not to gain a place in the Money League.

Valencia return to the Money League after a three year absence as a result of participation in the Champions League. Italian club Napoli’s third place finish in Serie A, its highest finishing position since the Diego Maradona inspired team won the Scudetto in 1989/90, means it gains a Money League placing for the first time.

Champions League participation in 2011/12 for both Dortmund and the Neapolitans will result in these two famous clubs achieving further revenue growth and as a result they should climb up next year’s Money League.

Famous five

Once again, our top 20 comprises clubs from the ‘big five’ European leagues in England (six clubs), Italy (five), Germany (four), Spain (three) and France (two).

The population and economic size of these five countries coupled with the popularity of football, match attendances and broadcast audiences, which provides the platform for the biggest clubs in these markets to dominate the Money League.

Portuguese club Benfica is the highest placed club from a non ‘big five’ league and miss out on a top 20 place by c.€12m. A strong supporter base, excellent facilities at the Estadio da Luz and, participation in the Champions League allowed the club to generate just over €102m in revenues in 2010/11.

Competing in Europe

Participation in European competition remains important not only in gaining a top 20 position but also in terms of movement within the top 20. Six of the top 20 clubs did not participate in the Champions League – Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus, Dortmund, Hamburger SV, and Napoli. Of these, only Hamburg didn’t participate in either UEFA competition at all.

The revenues that European club competition participation delivers on a matchday and through central UEFA distributions are an important component of most Money League clubs’ revenue profiles.

From 2012/13, four German clubs will qualify for the Champions League compared with three clubs from Italy, a reversal of the current situation. Five clubs from Italy, and four from Germany, appear in this year’s Money League. This change in allocation could potentially shift the balance of clubs from the two countries within the top 20 in future editions.

Bridging the divisions

Real Madrid and Barcelona will head the list and contest the top two Money League positions for the foreseeable future. Manchester United’s disappointing Champions League performance in 2011/12 means it is unlikely to close the €84m gap to the Spanish clubs. The gulf may widen to over €100m next year.

Spanish clubs are currently negotiating a collective model for the distribution of La Liga broadcast revenues, potentially from 2015/16. The revenue advantage that Real and Barca enjoy over their European peers indicates that a more even distribution of La Liga broadcast revenues would not necessarily challenge the two clubs’ dominance at the top of the Money League.

We are starting to see widening gaps between clubs at the top of the Money League. In addition to the €84m gap between second placed Barcelona and third placed Manchester United, there is a €70m gap between fourth placed Bayern and fifth placed Arsenal. These are unlikely to be bridged in the short term unless a club fails to qualify for the Champions League.

The clubs placed from sixth to tenth have revenues between €200m and €250m with a €20m gap to 11th placed Tottenham, although it is possible to break into the top ten as Schalke has proved this year and Manchester City is likely to do in next year’s edition.

Two of this year’s new entries – Borussia Dortmund and Napoli – will enjoy revenue boosts from participation in the Champions League in 2011/12 whilst the other new entry, Valencia, has again participated in the competition. As a consequence it is possible that the 20 clubs comprising the Money League could remain the same in next year’s edition, the first time this has happened since we started our Money League analysis in 1996/97. However Benfica may break the ‘big five’ country stranglehold on the Money League should it progress in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, although there remains at least a €10m gap to bridge.

Club Revenue
Benfica €105.4m
Atlético de Madrid €99.9m
Werder Bremen €99.7m
Aston Villa €99.3m
Newcastle United €98m
Ajax €97.1m
VfB Stuttgart €95.5m
Everton €90.8m
West Ham United €89.1m
Sunderland €87.9m
Sevilla €82.8m

Getting the house in order

Whilst the Money League covers clubs’ revenue performance, there is an increasing focus within European football on achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure given UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement.

Some commentators may argue that regulating clubs’ expenditure relative to revenue may further concentrate on-pitch success amongst those clubs earning the most. Nonetheless, we believe 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.

Of course, generating the highest revenues does not guarantee on-pitch success. Only two of the highest revenue generating clubs in the ‘big five’ leagues won their respective domestic leagues in 2010/11 and only two of the five leagues saw the clubs with the highest overall wage costs lift the domestic crown.

This edition

In this year’s edition we supplement our usual profiles of the top 20 clubs with a feature article on UEFA’s Europa League and an insight into the clubs and leagues in emerging football markets in Brazil, Eastern Europe, China and the USA.

The Deloitte Football Money League was compiled by Dan Jones, Austin Houlihan, Richard Battle, Tim Bridge, Adam Bull, Chris Hanson, Richard Taylor and Alexander Thorpe. Our thanks go to all those who have assisted us, inside and outside the Deloitte international network. We hope you enjoy this edition.

Dan Jones, Partner

Deloitte Football Money League 2012

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