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Manchester United on track to top football’s rich list

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Manchester United have slipped to third in the Deloitte Football Money League from second last year, but are well on their way to claim the top spot in more than a decade when the rankings are released next year, the auditing firm said.

While United earned €519.5 million in 2014-15, surpassing the half-a-billion euro mark for the second season in a row, the club is joined by a record nine Premier League clubs in the top 20 – generating a combined €3bn between them.

Real Madrid top the list for the 11th year in a row, their revenues of €577 million only just beating Barcelona’s €560.8 mn. French side Paris Saint-Germain are fourth with €480.8m, ahead of Bayern Munich, fifth with €474m. English clubs Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool occupy the next four places, while Newcastle United jumped two places to 17th, with new entrants West ham United closing out the list at 20th.

Surprisingly, Manchester United are the only club in the top 10 who did not participate in the Champions League last season, a further indicator of the club’s financial strength.

Deloitte’s Tim Bridge said: “The fact Manchester United remain in the top three of the money league demonstrates the underlying strength of the club’s business model. The return to Champions League football [this season], as well as the commencement of a number of significant commercial partnerships, will only strengthen the business in 2015-16.

“With this in mind, it would not be surprising to see United top next year’s money league for the first time in 12 years, with the club forecasting revenues of around £500m [€650m].”

The Deloitte Money League top 20. Photo: Deloitte
The Deloitte Football Money League top 20. Photo: Deloitte

Dan Jones, edited of the report, said: “For the first time the top three clubs in the Football Money League have all passed the €500m revenue mark. Real Madrid once again delivered a strong financial performance, buoyed by growth in their commercial revenue. The planned redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabéu will help to continue the growth in matchday income in the coming years.

“Barcelona’s achievements in the 2014-15 season have translated to financial success. The European champions have climbed to second place at the expense of Manchester United, with revenue growth across all areas of the business – matchday, broadcast and commercial.”

West Ham entered the list for the first time since 2005-06, thanks to their revenue increasing to €160.9m revenue from €139.3m the year before. It’s a development that augurs well for the Hammers ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium next season.

The report analyses that while Europe’s five major leagues – the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – grew, the top five clubs’ growth rate shrank.

“We have seen a slowdown of growth from the top five clubs, with revenues growing by just 4% year on year, compared to 11% in the previous edition,” Jones said. “It may be hard for new clubs to break into the top 10 in the short term, given the €43.3m revenue gap between 10th and 11th place.”

How is the Deloitte Football Money League compiled?

“There are a number of metrics, both financial and non-financial, that can be used to compare clubs including attendance, worldwide fan base, broadcast audience and on-pitch success,” Jones said.

“In the money league we focus on clubs’ ability to generate revenue from matchday (including ticket and corporate hospitality sales), broadcast rights (including distributions from participation in domestic leagues, cups and European club competitions) and commercial sources (including sponsorship, merchandising, stadium tours and other commercial operations), and rank them on that basis.

“To gain entry to the top 20, substantial broadcast revenue continues to be critical, especially that generated from participation in the Champions League. For the biggest clubs the rewards of progression play an important role also. The 2014-15 finalists – Barcelona and Juventus – saw increases in Uefa distributions of €19.1m and €39m respectively, whilst last year’s finalists – Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid – saw decreases as a result of not matching their exploits of 2013-14.”

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