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FC Barcelona becomes only the third club to top Deloitte’s Football Money League, breaking the €800m revenue barrier

Press release

  • The 23rd Deloitte Football Money League reveals the top 20 highest revenue generating football clubs for the 2018/19 season, with combined revenues growing 11% to €9.3bn, a new record;
  • FC Barcelona reaches the top of the Money League for the first time and also becomes the first club to break the €800m barrier;Real Madrid drops to second, generating revenue of €757.3m, with the gap between first and second place the highest in the publication’s history (€83.5m);
  • Manchester United (€711.5m) is in third but is at risk of losing the position as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club for the first time in next year’s Money League;
  • Bayern Munich (€660.1m) remains in fourth position, with Paris Saint-Germain (€635.9m) entering the top five at the expense of Manchester City (€610.6m);
  • Tottenham Hotspur (€521.1m) is eighth, the club’s highest ever position, and has overtaken Chelsea (€513.1m) and Arsenal (€445.6m) to become London’s highest revenue generating club for the first time since 1996/97;
  • Juventus, the only Italian club in the top 10, rose one place from 11th
    with a growth in turnover to 524.5 million dollars, largely attributable
    to the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, which had positive effects in
    terms of brand visibility and merchandising sales;

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The 20 highest earning football clubs in the world generated a record €9.3bn (£8.2bn) of combined revenue in 2018/19, an increase of 11% on the previous year, according to the 23rd edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

The top five revenue generating clubs in this edition of the Money League are FC Barcelona (€840.8m total revenue), Real Madrid (€757.3m), Manchester United (€711.5m), Bayern Munich (€660.1m) and Paris Saint-Germain (€635.9m), who between them collectively generate more revenue than the 11 clubs ranked 10th to 20th.

Broadcast remains the largest individual revenue stream, comprising 44% of total revenue. The ability to attract substantial commercial interest is a distinguishing factor between those at the top (i.e. those traditionally competing in the UEFA Champions League on a regular basis) and at the bottom of the Money League. It is notable that while an extended period of absence from UEFA club competitions, in particular the Champions League, can significantly impact revenue generation, the top ranked clubs are less reliant on broadcast revenue than smaller clubs.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Growth in the football industry continues to outpace that in other sectors, and the top 20 Money League clubs are on track to generate over €10 billion collectively in a single year in the near future.

“What is notable in this edition of the Money League is the apparent continuing emergence of ‘mini-leagues within the Money League’, as the largest revenue-generating clubs continue to pull away from the rest.”

Doin’ it right

With FC Barcelona reaching the top of the Money League for the first time ever and at the same time becoming the first club to break the €800m barrier, this year’s ranking sees a Spanish one-two for the second consecutive year. However, the positions have swapped, with Real Madrid dropping to second place; the gap between first and second place is now the highest in the publication’s history (€83.5m).

FC Barcelona’s revenue increase can largely be attributed to the club’s change in approach to operations, with the decision to bring merchandising and licensing activities in-house a primary factor. Recognising the power of its brand, the club has taken greater control of its merchandising and licensing operations, rather than relying on third parties for these services. This has given the club additional control over how its products are promoted and sold and the ability to report this revenue on a gross, rather than a net, basis.

Jones adds: “Barca is a clear example of a club adapting to changing market conditions, reducing the reliance on broadcast revenue and focussing on growing revenues within its control. The club’s commercial operation generated €383.5m of revenue, which is more than the total revenue of the 12th placed club in this year’s Money League.

“With the club expecting further growth of €30m in commercial revenues and total revenue of almost €880m in 2019/20 we expect them to retain the top spot in next year’s edition. Barca is on course to achieve its stated ambition to be the first €1 billion Money League club in years to come.”

One more time

The Premier League continues to contribute the most clubs to the Money League top 20, with eight clubs making the cut in this year’s edition.

Manchester United remains in third with revenue of £627.1m (€711.5m) but currently forecasts revenue of £560-580m in 2019/20 as a result of not qualifying for this season’s Champions League, a result that would likely see the Red Devils fall to their lowest ever Money League position in next year’s edition. This could also put the club at risk of losing its position as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club for the first time in Money League history. United’s closest domestic rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, generated revenues of £538.2m (€610.6m) and £533m (€604.7m) respectively in 2018/19. Liverpool's long-term ambitions of a top five Money League position in future editions are not unrealistic, particularly if the club can build on its recent on-pitch success in the Premier League and in winning the 2019 UEFA Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur is eighth in this year’s Money League, the club’s highest ever position, and has overtaken Arsenal and Chelsea to become London’s highest revenue generating club in the Money League for the first time since 1996/97. Spurs’ revenue increased 21% to £459.3m (€521.1m), which was largely attributable to increased revenue from broadcasters and commercial sources, following a season in which the club progressed to the Champions League Final and moved into the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Arsenal slipped from ninth to 11th overall, highlighting the financial consequences of the club’s absence from the Champions League for the second consecutive season. As a result, the number of Premier League teams in the top 10 has reduced to five this year, from a record six in the previous year.

Sam Boor, senior manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, comments: “The impact of participation and performance in UEFA club competitions on revenue is evident in London and the North West, with the rise of Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs driven by reaching the Champions League knockout stages. The relative decline of Arsenal is a direct result of not participating in the competition for a second consecutive season, a fate that may also befall Manchester United.”

Around the world

Beyond the Premier League, clubs from the other ‘big five’ football leagues – France’s Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A, also feature in the top 20. The 2018/19 season saw impressive double-digit percentage growth in all revenue streams for Paris Saint-Germain as the club rose to fifth in the Money League, its highest position since 2014/15. The club generated €363.4m of commercial revenue, the second highest in Money League history, attributable to the signing of five new partners and the extension of contracts with six global brands.

Juventus regains 10th place in this year’s Money League as revenue increased 17% to €459.7m. The arrival of talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who alone has more Instagram followers than Real Madrid and FC Barcelona combined, increased Juventus’ commercial appeal. As a result, Juve saw an uplift in commercial revenue in part due to an increase in brand visibility in 2018/19. The club also increased revenue from merchandise sales as a result of signing the marquee player.

Boor added: “The composition of the top 20 remains relatively stable with only two new entrants to the Money League – Olympique Lyonnais ranked 17th and SSC Napoli ranked 20th – both clubs progressed further in UEFA club competitions and benefitted from UEFA’s new and more lucrative distribution mechanism that came into effect in 2018/19. For the first time, every club in our top 20 achieved revenues of over €200m.”

The only non-‘big five’ participants in the top 30 were Ajax in 23rd (€199.4m), Benfica 24th (€197.6m), FC Zenit Saint Petersburg 28th (€180.4m) and FC Porto 29th (€176.2m), further reflecting the significant impact that UEFA club competition participation has on revenue generation in these markets.

Horizon

In the last five years the collective broadcast revenue of the top 20 clubs has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 11%, the most of any of the revenue streams. Whether the largest football leagues have now reached a plateau in broadcast rights value is debatable, however broadcast revenue generation is ultimately out of the control of an individual club. To achieve differentiated revenue growth in the future, clubs will need to focus on maximising the revenue streams that they have the most influence over. Their challenge is to do so at a time where the future landscape for football looks more unpredictable than ever.

Boor concludes: “The Champions League Round of 16 draw for the 2019/20 season, much like the Money League top 20, consists only of teams from Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. Key stakeholders in the game will be alert to the importance of preserving unpredictability of footballing outcomes as a key driver of long-term and sustainable value.”

Deloitte Football Money League 2020

View the infographic, download the report

Position (last year’s position) Club 2018/19 Revenue (€m) (2017/18 Revenue)
1 (2) FC Barcelona 840.8 (690.4)
2 (1) Real Madrid 757.3 (750.9)
3 (3) Manchester United 711.5 (665.8)
4 (4) Bayern Munich 660.1 (629.2)
5 (6) Paris Saint-Germain 635.9 (541.7)
6 (5) Manchester City 610.6 (568.4)
7 (7) Liverpool 604.7 (513.7)
8 (10) Tottenham Hotspur 521.1 (428.3)
9 (8) Chelsea 513.1 (505.7)
10 (11) Juventus 459.7 (394.5)
11 (9) Arsenal 445.6 (439.2)
12 (12) Borussia Dortmund 377.1 (317.2)
13 (13) Atlético de Madrid 367.6 (304.4)
14 (14) Inter Milan 364.6 (280.8)
15 (16) Schalke 04 324.8 (243.8)
16 (15) AS Roma 231 (250)
17 (n/a) Olympique Lyonnais 220.8 (164.2)
18 (20) West Ham 216.4 (197.9)
19 (17) Everton 213 (212.9)
20 (n/a) Napoli 207.4 (182.8)

This press release is based on the Deloitte Football Money League published in January 2020. As explained further in the publication, the revenue figures are extracted from the annual financial statements of the company or group in respect of each club, or other direct sources, for the 2018/19 season.

There are many ways of examining the relative wealth or value of football clubs. For the Deloitte Football Money League, revenue has been used as the most easily available and comparable measure of financial performance.
Revenue excludes player transfer fees, VAT and other sales related taxes. In a few cases we have made adjustments to total revenue figures to enable, in our view, a more meaningful comparison of the football business on a club-by-club basis.
We have not performed any verification work or audited any of the information contained in the financial statements or other sources in respect of each club for the purpose of the publication.

For the purpose of the international comparisons, unless otherwise stated, all figures for the 2018/19 season have been translated at the average exchange rate for the year ending 30 June 2019 (£1 = €1.1346). Comparative figures have been extracted from previous editions of the Deloitte Football Money League, or from relevant annual financial statements or other direct sources.

Later this year the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance will be published, providing a more detailed analysis of the English and European football finance landscape.

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© 2020. For information, contact Deloitte Malta.

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