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Deloitte Football Money League again demonstrates growing influence of Middle East partnerships


 Deloitte: Combined revenues of the top 20 Money League clubs reach $6.1 billion
 Real Madrid top the rankings for the eighth successive year, matching Manchester United’s record;
 Real Madrid reconfirms its status as the world’s highest earning sports team with revenues of €513m ($650m)
 FC Barcelona complete a Spanish one-two for the fourth year running;
 A first Premier League title, UEFA Champions League competition and increased commercial revenue propel Manchester City up five places into seventh position;
 English Premier League teams now occupy five of the top 10 places;
 Sponsorship from Middle East organizations playing an increasingly important role.

31 January, 2013 - Real Madrid is the highest revenue generating club in any sport with revenue of €512.6m ($650.5m) in the season 2011/12, according to the 16th edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.  The Spanish club achieved a €33.1m (7%) increase in revenue, and in doing so has claimed the top position in the Money League for a record equaling eighth year, matching Manchester United’s reign from 1996/97 to 2003/04.

The combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest earning football clubs have grown 10% on the previous year to reach €4.8bn ($6.1bn) in 2011/12. 

Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “It is an impressive achievement for Real Madrid to have topped our table for an eighth successive year and earned record revenue in a single year for a sports team anywhere in the world.  Real Madrid 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.

“Whilst eight of the top 20 clubs experienced a drop in revenue in 2011/12, in most cases this was due to less successful on-pitch performances in European club competitions, rather than wider recessionary impacts.  Combined, the 20 Money League clubs contribute over one-quarter of the total revenues of the European football market.  The top 20 can be expected to generate over €5bn ($6.3bn) between them in 2012/13.”

For the fifth successive year, the clubs comprising the top six places in the Money League – Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal – remain the same.  FC Barcelona again claim second place in the rankings to complete a Spanish one-two for the fourth successive year.

Jones noted: “An unchanged top six emphasizes the fact that these clubs have some of the largest fan bases and hence strongest revenues, in both domestic and international markets.” 

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona recently signed commercial agreements with Middle East based partners.  Commenting on the influence of the Middle East on this year’s Money League, Jones said: “The Money League this year has a number of interesting stories, but certainly one of them is the continued impact commercial partnerships from the Middle East are having on revenue generation. The resilience of top clubs to economic pressures is due in part to their global appeal. The brands of the top European clubs now have a global currency and this is no more evident than in the attraction of sponsors from the Middle East. Indeed, four of the top 10 Money League clubs currently have shirt front deals with Middle East based airlines.”

Julian Hawkins, Lead Partner, Deloitte Consulting Middle East, remarked: “The development of the Middle East as a global playmaker continues apace. We have watched the growth and competition amongst the region’s airlines over recent years and it follows that these companies are aligning themselves with leading brands in football. Partnering with the top clubs in Europe is an open goal for these companies: it resonates well with their respective markets, as well as with international customers.”

This year’s joint highest climbers in the Money League were Manchester City, who leap-frogged Liverpool to move up five places to seventh. The Abu Dhabi-owned Premier League champions were able to increase revenue by 51% to €285.6m ($362.4m), helped by a title winning season, UEFA Champions League campaign, and the start of a new 10-year partnership with Etihad Airways.

Of further regional note was Arsenal, who secured sixth position in the Money League and recently extended their deal with Emirates Airlines. The new deal, worth £150m ($235.3m), represents a significant uplift on the previous agreement and will see the Dubai based airline remain the club’s shirt sponsor until the end of the 2018/19 season and retain the stadium naming rights until 2028.

There is one new entry to the Money League this year, with Newcastle United replacing Spanish club Valencia. Once again, the English Premier League contributes the most clubs to the Money League with seven clubs in the top 20 rankings, five of which appear in the top 10.  A further four Premier League clubs sit just outside the top 20 (Everton, Aston Villa, Fulham and Sunderland).

Jones concluded: “The influence of the Middle East can clearly be seen in this year’s Money League. When one considers the commercial partnerships the region has made, the continued levels of ownership investment across Europe, as well as the forthcoming World Cup in Qatar, it is clear that the Middle East has become a key player in the industry.”

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