The Battle of The Highest Earning Clubs and Leagues

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Real Madrid and Barcelona might lead the Money League, but it’s Premier League that is winning due to its phenomenal broadcasting success.


Championship and European competitions are far from over, but the winners of the so-called “Money League” are already crowned. At the beginning of every year, financial experts Deloitte assemble the list of top clubs according to their yearly revenue and just as on the pitch, the favourites don’t always win.

3 main revenue sources

The research ranks the clubs based on revenue from matchdays (including ticket and corporate hospitality sales), broadcasting rights and commercial sources (including sponsorships, merchandising, stadium tours and other commercial operations). Although matchday revenue has fallen to its lowest ratio of total revenue so far (less than a fifth), new stadiums will keep popping up to make broadcast experience even better.

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Real Madrid won at least one trophy last season and they keep 1st place in the Money League with a total revenue of €577 million. Even though they won a treble, Barcelona places 2nd. With its renewed commercial contracts (Audi) and new commercial partnerships with Beko and Telefonica, the Catalans jump ahead of Bayern Munich (#5, 2015) and Manchester United (#3, 2015). United keeps a top 3 place with its great financial form, despite its smaller successes in the Premier League and not qualifying for Champions League in 2014/15.

TV rights bringing the most money

For a club to gain entry to the top 20 list, a substantial broadcast revenue continues to be one of the most important factors, especially in the form of participating in the UEFA Champions League. United was back in the Champions League this season with a new Adidas kit deal and shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet starting next season, Real Madrid needs great competitive success to hope to stay on top.
The Premier League can boast that it has 9 clubs in the top 20 highest earning clubs and a record 17 clubs among top 30! The basis the EPL’s financial success lies in amazing TV rights, giving non-Champions League clubs a considerable international competitive advantage. Because of a new domestic broadcast deal coming into effect in the next season, the Money League top 30 might soon feature 20 Premier League clubs. Stoke City, for example, has never finished higher than 9th in the Premier League but has surpassed Italian giant Lazio in revenue.

Paris St. Germain the only French club in the top 20

There’s only one French club in the top 20 this year, but it has moved to fourth place (the highest ever position for a French club) – Paris St. Germain (#4, 2015). They enjoyed healthy rise after a record breaking season in France and a strong performance in the Champions League. Although Euro 2016 brought big investments in stadium developments in France, experts at Deloitte don’t see more French clubs pushing into top 20 earning clubs.

Matchday revenue keeps falling for Italian clubs

In Italy, Juventus remained on top and reaching the Champions League final helped the club achieve total revenue growth of 16% and a place in the Money League top 10. Italian clubs hardly managed to maintain four clubs in the top 20, but with slow internal changes and minimal investments their matchday revenue keeps falling.

Bayern Munich maintained a superior position in the well-attended Bundesliga, but have suffered a slight decrease in revenue. That will soon change as the club strategy is focused on the Far East with a content sharing agreement with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, while new deals with Fox Sports Networks will try to gain more revenue from American market. Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 represent Bundesliga in the top 20, with Dortmund achieving the highest league attendance in the Money League – 80,000 supporters per game.

La Liga to challenge Premier League

Besides Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico, other Spanish clubs will soon be able to compete with the Premier League due to their broadcast rights that start in the 2016/17 season. Now, clubs are competing on yet another level that can be monetised with sponsor deals – social media. The most creative teams will be able to narrow down the margins behind their rivals but the greatest clubs in UK and Spain still posses the biggest name and brand recognition.

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