[Image Source: khelnow.com]
Money may be the root of all evil but is the incentive that drives the efforts in all humanity and football too. The transfer deals, the salary of the club employees from players to backroom staff, and development and maintenance of the football club’s infrastructure - stadium, training centers, youth academy setup, are all driven by the revenues earned by the football club.
Showcasing a perfect blend of sporting and commercial success, Let’s look at the richest football clubs as of January 2020 as revealed by the Deloitte Football Money League, an annual ranking of football clubs by revenue generated from matchday, broadcast, and other commercial operations.
The Top 10 Richest Football Clubs of 2020 are:
1. FC BARCELONA
2019 Total Revenue - €840.8m
Last year’s ranking – 2nd
Barcelona registered its name at the summit of the richest club list, becoming the first club to register revenues exceeding €800m. The successful 2018-19 season with a league and cup double was marred by the unforgivable collapse at Anfield (Every football fan would know this match!). Financially, the clubs’ generated greater profits, moving the licensing and merchandising operations in-house while advancement to the semi-finals in the Champions League, also provided a greater share of the lucrative package from UEFA.
The club still stares at a looming debt with almost 63% of the total revenue being paid in player wages, the largest wage bill in football, dubiously overpaid transfer fees and scandals tarnishing the image of the institution which was once famed for being ‘more than a club’.
2. REAL MADRID
2019 Total Revenue - €757.3m
Last year’s ranking – 1st
The ‘Los Blancos’ lost the top spot in the richest football clubs list to their bitter rivals Barcelona following a disappointing 2018-19 season. Real dropped to third in the league standings, while elimination at the hands of youthful Ajax in the quarterfinals extinguished their hopes of a fourth successive European crown.
Although the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo brought in cash in form of transfer funds, the club’s brand value took a hit, and failure to find a replacement for him in the short term harmed their fortunes. Despite the setbacks, the future augurs well for Real with a sustainable business plan, investment in youth, the return of Zidane at helm, and strategy to utilize the untapped benefits of being the most followed club on social media.
3. MANCHESTER UNITED
2019 Total Revenue - €711.5m
Last year’s ranking – 3rd
Despite slipping away from all other podiums in sporting terms, the Red Devils have done well to cling on to the podium of the richest clubs list, driven by a return to the Champions League in 2018 and some mind-boggling sponsorship deals (61, to be precise including an official tractor partner !!!).
Dark clouds loom over the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ as the lack of success on the pitch has threatened commercial renewals and failure to qualify for the 2019-20 Champions League has depleted the brand value. The club seemed to be headed down the same path in the current season before the signing of Bruno Fernandes had triggered a mini-revival of sorts before the current hiatus. Taking solace in the loyal following they enjoy, United continue to be a major name in football and the richest club in England, that is, as Sir Alex would say - until they are knocked off their f**king perch by Manchester City or Liverpool.
4. BAYERN MUNICH
2019 Total Revenue - €660.1m
Last year’s ranking – 4th
Bayern has been ruthless in their domination of the German Bundesliga, claiming the championship for the last 7 seasons and look well on course for an eighth this season. Their league and cup double had a positive impact on their earnings, only to be blotted by the round-of-16 exit from the Champions League. Bayern’s revenues have seen a steady rise due to their long-term partnerships with brands, for instance, the 30 years naming rights deal of their luminous home stadium with Allianz, and their ability to monetize their international fanbase contributing to more than half of the share. The Bavarians are also known to make calculated transfer deals to sustain their finances effectively but aren’t afraid to splurge cash for their in-demand targets.
5. PARIS SAINT GERMAIN
2019 Total Revenue - €635.9m
Last year’s ranking – 6th
If there’s a pure amalgam of entertainment and football, it has to be Paris Saint Germain. The club recorded a double-digit percentage increase in all revenue streams with contract extensions with six global brands and the signing of five new partners. Showcasing the club’s colors at the Paris Fashion Week and the collaboration with Nike Jordan to create basketball-inspired jerseys caught the attention of fans worldwide.
On the pitch, PSG commands the services of two of the most marketable stars in football currently, Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappe. Both are a major pull for investments, evident from three new kit sponsorship announced by the club. Despite dominating the Ligue 1 effortlessly, PSG craves the continental prize which would catapult it into the league of the big boys.
6. MANCHESTER CITY
2019 Total Revenue - €610.6m
Last year’s ranking – 5th
In the battle of Qatari vs Emirates oil money, Manchester City fell short of PSG despite becoming the first English club to achieve an English treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup (whoever the current title sponsor be) and a 7% increase in revenues. The heartbreaking quarterfinal exit at the hands of Spurs hurt their fortunes, but domestically City are traversing new highs amassing a total of 199 points combined in 2018 and 2019.
The new sponsorship deal with Puma, moving away from Nike, and other kit sponsors are expected to galvanize their revenues upwards for the current year but the impending Champions League ban for the next two campaigns for Financial Fair Play (FFP) breach has tossed all predictions out of the window. If the ban is withheld despite their appeal, City are staring at a potential loss of millions in revenues and brand value with possible loss of key players leaving for greener pastures.
2019 Total Revenue - €604.7m
Last year’s ranking – 7th
The tears and disappointment of losing the Champions League final in 2018 were washed away by the jubilation of lifting the trophy a year later, culminating in a 17% growth in revenues for Liverpool. A strong showing in the Premier league in 2019, a point shy of ending the almost 30 years wait for the title of league champions, reinstated the Reds as the powerhouse they used to be, bringing along the commercial success with it.
Decisions like switching from New Balance to Nike for their kit sponsorship and leasing their famed home Anfield for summer concerts (surely Barcelona fans won’t be enjoying the tune of it!) are being seen as an effort to increase their global outreach. Not afraid to spend big to plug gaping holes in the squad for the likes of Alison and Van Dijk, the team has been playing exhilarating football, and it surely is the best time for Liverpool fans.
8. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
2019 Total Revenue - €521.1m
Last year’s ranking – 10th
Ranking 8th is the highest position for Spurs in the richest clubs list and why wouldn’t it be? After all, they reached the final of the Champions League against all odds with remarkable comebacks. The elation of having unveiled their new stadium and a 21% rise in commercial and broadcast revenues, were diminished by a rather subdued start to the 2019-20 season, which led to the sacking of their revered manager Pochettino and replaced by the pragmatic Mourinho. A five-year partnership with HSBC and forays into cryptocurrency is expected to bring commercial growth, the sporting project is in the peril with rumors of their talisman Harry Kane seeking to leave growing.
2019 Total Revenue - €513.1m
Last year’s ranking – 8th
Chelsea ended up on 9th position in the richest clubs list and despite winning the Europa League, the club recorded a loss in broadcasting and matchday revenue – highlighting why participation in the Champions League is more prestigious than success in the second tier. The transfer ban last summer was to spell doom for the club’s business but instead, the young guns under the leadership of club legend Frank Lampard have brought smiles back on the faces of Blues’ fans. On a commercial front, the shirt sleeve deal with Hyundai is a major gain and there’s an opportunity to bring more value from shirt sponsorship with the current deal with Yokohoma Tyres in its final year.
2019 Total Revenue - €459.7m
Last year’s ranking – 11th
Juventus have always been a successful club but lacked the brand value. However, that was rectified by the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo resulting in a lucrative deal with Adidas and renewal with main sponsors Jeep on the cards. The club has increased revenues by bringing the merchandising in-house and also sought to tap into the highly lucrative Asian market with deals with regional brands and with the team unrelenting in its hold over the Serie A, Juventus look set to be a regular in the list.
So, that was the complete list until COVID-19 struck …
The suspension of football globally has had serious implications on the finances of clubs with loss in broadcast and matchday revenues. Almost all teams have taken severe pay cuts, some have furloughed their staff while many smaller clubs stare at bankruptcy. Perhaps, next year’s list of the richest football club would provide the true picture of the resulting impact.
Here is the list of Top 10 Richest Football Clubs in the World.
2. Real Madrid
3. Manchester United
4. Bayern Munich
5. Paris Saint Germain
6. Manchester City
8. Tottenham Hotspur
Do let us know if your favourite club is in this list or not.