Man United hold off Real as TV deals drive English charge in rich list
By Simon Ward
Manchester United remained the world’s leading soccer club by revenue in the 2016-17 season, as one of a record 10 English teams to make the top 20, on the back of lucrative broadcasting rights deals, in the annual Deloitte Football Money League.
The professional services firm’s latest rich list again sees five Premier League clubs make the top 10, led by United with turnover of €676.3 million ($829.7 million), albeit this was down from €689 million in 2015-16.
The combined revenue of the top 20 clubs rose by 6 per cent to a new high of €7.9 billion, with broadcasting now the largest individual stream, accounting for 45 per cent of the total.
Manchester United were absent from Europe’s top-tier Uefa Champions League last season, but their achievement in winning the second-tier Europa League, and receiving €44.5 million in Uefa payments, enabled them to stay at the top of the revenue chart, just €1.7 million ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, which held top spot for 11 straight campaigns to 2014-15.
The Spanish giants won the Champions League for the second year running and this, coupled with the LaLiga title, helped lift their turnover by €54.5 million, or nearly 9 per cent, to €674.6 million, above domestic rivals Barcelona, on €648.3 million, up 4.5 per cent.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “United’s ability to retain first position is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the weakened Pound against the Euro, and with both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona forecasting further revenue growth in 2017-18, the battle at the top will likely come down to on-pitch performance again next year.”
This year’s top five is rounded off by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and the Premier League’s Manchester City, while another English club Arsenal moved up to sixth at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain, the only French club in the top 20.
The other English teams in the upper echelon are Premier League champions Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, West Ham United and new entries Southampton and Everton, with the combined revenue of the country’s representatives in 2016-17 amounting to €3.8 billion.
Deloitte asserts this was made possible by it being the first season of the league’s three-year domestic live rights deals with pay-television operators Sky and BT Sport worth £1.7 billion ($2.4 billion) per annum.
Tony Bridge, senior manager in the Sports Business Group, said: “The Deloitte Football Money League has a particularly English feel this year and with the new broadcast deal and Uefa competition performance driving broadcast revenue growth of over half a billion pounds for those in the top 20, it doesn’t come as a surprise.
“As the Premier League is currently in the middle of its rights tender for the next cycle from 2019-20, the results of this will be crucial to determining the long-term composition of the Money League.”
Like Germany and Spain, Italy has three clubs among the highest revenue generators, led by Serie A champions Juventus. However, with teams now requiring turnover of nearly €200 million to make the top 20, once-mighty AC Milan have dropped out for the first time, along with AS Roma and Russia’s Zenit Saint Petersburg, with another Serie A club Napoli a new entry.
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