For the 10th year running, European champion Real Madrid is the world’s richest club in the annual Football Money League published by accountants Deloitte, with a revenue of $639 million.
Money clearly talks in European football with the combined revenues of the top 20 clubs in the rich list rising by a staggering 14% over the last year to $7 billion.
All of the top five clubs for the 2013-14 financial year saw their revenue surpass the $500-million mark for the first time on a list dominated by the English Premier League, home to five of this year’s top 10 and eight of the 20-strong list.
This year is the 18th running of Deloitte’s Money League, which has been dominated by Real for a decade, although Manchester United catapulted past both Barcelona ($563.5 million) and Bayern Munich ($566.8 million) to move into second place with revenues of $602.3 million, a hike in revenue of some $110 million.
United has been below par on the pitch in recent times, under former manager David Moyes and his successor Louis van Gaal, but figures show an 83% growth in commercial revenue over the last three years.
That said, United is expected to slide in next year’s Money League having missed out on Champions League revenues in this current season.
Of the clubs on the list only United’s “noisy neighbors” Manchester City — as Alex Ferguson once described them — enjoyed a greater spike in year-on-year revenue, with a $114 million rise from 2012-13 to cement their place in sixth on the list.
“The growth experienced within the top 20 has been remarkable,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. “Commercial and broadcast revenues are now more important than ever to clubs to enable them to compete financially and put the best talent on the pitch.
“This has led to further dominance from the ‘big five’ European leagues — England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France — this year, with just Turkey’s Galatasaray making it in from outside of those countries.
“Winning the Champions League for an unprecedented 10th time and staying at the top of the Money League made 2013-14 the year of the ‘Doble Décima’ for Real Madrid.
“The club’s continued success on the field is complemented by its financial strength and their accomplishment emphasizes their position as the most successful European club side of all time. However, their commercial supremacy is being challenged by Manchester United among others.”
Barcelona’s revenue plateaued last year, seeing them drop from second spot behind arch-rival Real to fourth below Manchester United and Bayern.
Paris Saint-Germain completes the top five while Juventus, in 10th, is the only side from Italy’s Serie A to make the top 10, with Premier League sides Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool rounding off the top clubs in seventh, eighth and ninth respectively in revenue terms.