Soccer may be a healthy pursuit, but it’s also one of the biggest money-spinners around. With more and more of us giving up on any idea of getting some exercise ourselves, preferring instead to get our fix in front of the TV or in a stadium instead, soccer is becoming an ever-bigger business, especially when it comes to soccer. With some soccer stars now occupying the kind of celebrity status traditionally reserved for film stars, sponsors are falling over themselves to invest their money into clubs, knowing full well that having their name emblazoned across one of its star’s backs is one of the best types of publicity there is.
As Tribal Football reports, Real Madrid, one of the most valuable clubs in the world (exactly how valuable, you’ll find out soon enough) recently swung a massive deal that will see them receive $200 million spread over 4 seasons after selling their sponsorship rights income to the investment firm Providence. And that’s just scraping the tip of the iceberg: as Forbes notes, similar deals have included a $246 million shirt sponsorship deal between Barcelona and Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten (which is on top of the club’s existing deal with Nike, which pulls in around $174 million annually), and a $457 million sponsorship deal between Juventus and Adidas.
It’s not just the individual clubs that are pulling in the big bucks: the leagues are earning their fair share too. In 2017, Turner and Univision “won” the US rights for the Championship League. The cost of their victory? Around $100 million a year, a massive hike on the $500 mil the Championship League been content enough to be getting from Fox up until that point. As a result of the deal, the prize money pool for the 2018-2019 Champions League has jumped a massive 30% on the previous year; based on the prize money fund distribution scheme, all 32 participating teams will earn around €15.25 million, with the opportunity to add significantly to their earnings through performance-related fixed amounts of up to €585 million. The two finalists will claim €15 million each, with the eventual winner pocketing a further €4 million
So, there you have it. Soccer is the most popular team sport in the world, and it shows. Thanks to Forbes’ yearly round-up of the most valuable teams in the world, we now know exactly which soccer franchises are scoring the most cash, and which are floundering at the bottom of the league table.
20. Newcastle United - $381 Million
- Revenue: $240 M
- Operating Income: $79 M
Newcastle United may occupy last place position on our roundup, but with a value of $381 M, we doubt the club’s owner Mike Ashley is having to tighten his belt too much. For those interested in the figures, the $381 million breaks down as $49 million from matchday revenue (i.e. gate receipts and hospitality revenue), $259 million from broadcasting revenue (i.e. distributions from domestic league, cups and European competitions), $48 million from commercial sources (sponsorship deals, merchandising, etc.), and $25 million from brand revenue (i.e. any other sources).
19. Everton - $476 Million
- Revenue: $254 M
- Operating Income $-11 M
As Forbes notes, Everton’s matchday value for last season was the lowest percentage of the total revenue of all our top 20 teams. Fortunately, the franchise made enough from other revenue streams to report a 32% increase on last year’s total valuation, scoring $40m from matchday revenue, $343 million from broadcasting revenue, $61 million from commercial revenue (thanks largely to its key sponsorship deals with Blackwell Global, Fanatics, Rovio, Umbro and USM), and $32 million from brand revenue.
18. AC Milan - $583 Million
- Revenue: $248 M
- Operating Income: $-27 M
2018 was a year of upheaval for Italian club AC Milan; Li Yonghong was ousted as manager and replaced by the hedge fund Elliott Management, following the former’s failure to keep up with his debts. The shake-up may account for why the club has dropped 5 percent on its value from last year, although that said, its value of $583 M (consisting of $99 million from matchday revenue, $271 million from broadcasting revenue, $157 million from commercial revenue and $55 million from brand) is still pretty envy-inducing.
17. West Ham United - $616 Million
- Revenue: $236 M
- Operating Income: $49 M
Despite taking $83 million from matchday revenue, $399 million from broadcasting revenue, $91 million from commercial revenue, and $43 million from brand revenue, Barclays Premier League club West Ham are down a not-insignificant 18% on last year’s valuation. Perhaps the fact they’ve failed to secure a top-five place in the Premier League for 20 years may account for why they don’t have quite so many sponsors lining up to throw money at them as certain other clubs.
16. AS Roma - $622 Million
- Revenue: $298 M
- Operating Income: $25 M
Up 1% on last year is Italian club, AS Roma (and yes, a 1% increase may sound like small fry, but when it’s 1% on $615 million, we’re still looking at a multi-million-dollar hike). The jump can largely be attributed to the club getting all the way to the semi-finals of the 2017-18 Champions League, which put the smiles on its fan’s smiles and $100 million in its bank account. Of the rest, $84 m came from matchday revenue, $398 million from broadcasting revenue, $95 million from commercial revenue, and $44 million from brand revenue.
15. Inter Milan - $672 M
Revenue: $335 M
Operating Income: $73 M
With a team value of $672 million (representing an 11% increase on last year’s figures), Inter Milan of the Serie A TIM league comes in at number 15. Looking at the breakdown, we can see that of the $672 million, $81 million comes from matchday revenue, $224 million comes from broadcasting revenue, $283 million from commercial revenue, and $84 million from brand revenue.
14. Schalke - $683 Million
- Revenue: $291 M
- Operating Income: $13 M
Despite Schake winning a deal with Umbro for $34 million over the course of five years, this year sees the team lose 3% of their value on last year’s figures. Still, a value of $683 M (comprising of $126 million from matchday revenue, $244 million from broadcasting revenue, $237 million from commercial revenue, and $75 million from brand revenue) is probably more than enough to keep its shareholder in good spirits.
13. Borussia Dortmund - $896 Million
- Revenue: $379 M
- Operating Income: $14 M
At number 13 with a team value of $896 million is our first German entry, Borussia Dortmund. Despite seeing a 1% drop in value compared to last year, Borussia Dortmund is still making a huge profit from matchday revenue ($155 million), thanks to drawing more crowds than any other team in the German Bundesliga league. Bayern Munich (number four on our list) only managed an average attendance of 75496, compared to Borussia Dortmund’s 79496.
12. Atletico de Madrid - $953 Million
- Revenue: $363 M
- Operating Income: $38 M
Coming in at number 12 is the Spanish team, Atletico de Madrid. This year has seen the team’s value jump by 12%, a hike that can be attributed to the 50% increase in matchday revenue it's experienced since moving to its new home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. The rest of its $953 million value comes from broadcasting revenue ($475 million), commercial revenue ($224 million) and brand revenue ($84 million).
11. Paris Saint-Germain - $1.092 Billion
- Revenue: $646 M
- Operating Income $53 M
Paris Saint-Germain is the first team on our list to hit the billion-dollar mark, an honor that comes from matchday revenue of $194 million, broadcasting revenue of $247 million, commercial revenue of $505 million, and brand revenue of $146 million. Across the board, the team’s valuation has jumped by 12% since last year.
10. Juventus - $1.512 Billion
- Revenue: $480 M
- Operating Income: $47 M
Breaking into the top 10 with a team valuation of $1.512 B are Italian giants, Juventus. Thanks to their December 2018 agreement with Adidas to extend their current kit sponsorship deal for another eight seasons at $61 million per year, the team is raking it on commercial revenue. Elsewhere, match day revenue comes in at $203 million, broadcasting revenue at $721 million and brand revenue at $150 million.
9. Tottenham Hotspur - $1.624 Billion
- Revenue: $511 M
- Operating Income $212 M
Barclays Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur have seen a massive increase in operating income in the last few years, which may help explain its current position at number 9 on our list. With a mammoth 31% increase on last year’s value, today the team is worth $1.624 B, with $310 million of that coming from matchday revenue, $824 million from broadcasting revenue, $353 million from commercial revenue, and $137 million from brand revenue.
8. Liverpool - $2.183 Billion
- Revenue: $613 M
- Operating Income: $128 M
At number 8 with a team value of $2.183 B is Barclays Premier League club, Liverpool. The team is up 12% on last year’s valuation, but next year could be even better: the team is currently negotiating a new kit deal with Nike which, if it goes their way, could make them richer than most of the other English Premier League clubs combined.
7. Arsenal - $2.268 Billion
- Revenue: $520 M
- Operating Income: $102 M
Next up is Arsenal, an English Premier League team with a value of $2.268 B. The bulk of the team’s money comes from matchday profits (which, given that they charge fans the equivalent of $126 for attending key home games, is understandable). The rest divides into $1015 million from broadcasting revenue, $502 million from commercial revenue, and $1094 million from brand revenue.
6. Chelsea - $2.576 Billion
- Revenue: $597 M
- Operating Income: $127 M
Chelsea is one of the top teams in the world for profiting from players sales, taking $438 million in the last five years alone. The rest of its $2.576 B value (which, by the way, is up 25% on last year) breaks down as $412 million form match day revenue, $1137 million from broadcasting, $766 million from commercial revenue, and $529 million from brand revenue.
5. Manchester City - $2.688 Billion
- Revenue: $678 M
- Operating Income: $168 M
Up next is yet another English Premier League club, Manchester City. Of its total value of $2.688 B, $290 million comes from matchday revenue, $1083 million from broadcasting revenue, $1005 million from commercial revenue, and another $310 million from brand revenue.
4. Bayern Munich - $3.024 Billion
- Revenue: $751 M
- Operating Income $129 M
German team Bayern Munich comes in at number 4 with a $3.024 B value, a mammoth figure that can no doubt be attributed to the team’s excellent record within the Championship League. Despite being 1% down on last year’s figures, Munich is still pulling in $478 million in matchday revenue, $814 million in broadcasting revenue, $1339 million in commercial revenue, and $392 million in commercial revenue.
3. Manchester United - $3.808 Billion
- Revenue: $795 M
- Operating Income $238 M
The final (and highest placed) entry from the English Premier league comes with Manchester United. After signing a t-shirt deal with Kohler last year worth a reported $13 million annually, United are showing healthy revenue across the board, pulling in $655 million in matchday revenue, $1264 million in broadcasting revenue, $1445 million in commercial revenue and $444 million in brand revenue.
2. Barcelona - $4.021 Billion
- Revenue: $824 M
- Operating Income: $-37 M
Down 1% on last year’s figures and yet still making it to number 2 on our list is Spain’s biggest team, Barcelona. IT’s staggering $4.021 B team value comes from $809M in matchday revenue, $1.2 billion in broadcasting revenue, and $465 million in brand revenue.
1. Real Madrid - $4.239 Billion
- Revenue: $863 Million
- Operating Income: $112 Million
After a two-year hiatus, Real Madrid is back at the top of our league table, a feat no doubt helped by the $100 million it secured from winning its third consecutive Champions League in 2018, and the $224 million sponsorship deal it recently won with Providence. With a reported $113 million a year sponsorship deal with Adidas currently on the table, Barcelona may have to contend itself with runner up status for a while to come yet.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker