Barcelona generated more money than any other club in European football last season, bringing in a staggering £741.1m in revenue during the 2018/19 campaign.
This saw them replace Real Madrid at the top of the list, with their fierce rivals earning £667.5m, while Manchester United remained in third place.
In the 23rd edition of Deloitte’s Football Money League, Barça claimed top spot by bringing in £73.6m more than second-placed Real. There has never been such a large gap between the top two since the inception of the rich list.
With their findings now released, we have decided that this is the perfect opportunity to have a look at five things we learned from the Deloitte Football Money League…
Barcelona in a League of Their Own
As previously mentioned, Barcelona reached the top of the Money League for the very first time as they stole top spot away from fierce rivals Real Madrid.
La Blaugrana became the first club to break the €800m barrier as they earned a whopping €840.8m (£741.1m). Moreover, Barcelonabrought in £73.6m more than second-placed Madrid – the gap between the top two has never been bigger in the 23 years in which Deloitte has tracked income.
Perhaps what is most impressive (or frightening) is that Barça are expected to continue to grow at an alarming rate, with the club expected to break the €1bn barrier in the coming years. Their rapid growth is said to be put down to their decision to take charge of their own merchandise and licensing operations.
Deloitte’s official 2020 report states: “The club has a published 2015-21 strategic plan which focuses on diversifying and internationalising sources of revenue.
“Barça is a clear example of a club adapting to changing market conditions, reducing its reliance on broadcast revenue and focussing on growing revenues within their control.”
Fair play, Barcelona.
Spurs Richest London Club
Tottenham Hotspur moved above Arsenal and Chelsea into eighth place in the Money League and, as a result, they became London’s richest club.
The north London side move up to eighth by increasing revenue 21% to £459.3m (€521.1m). Deloitte claim that Spurs’ increased revenue was ‘largely attributable to revenue from broadcasters’ and ‘commercial sources’.
Broadcast revenue growth of £43.2m (22%) was driven by the fact that the north London side were able to make the final of the Champions League last season, while commercial growth of £30.7m (30%) was ‘fuelled’ by additional bonuses from major commercial partners (AIA and Nike).
Spurs are expected to continue growing, with the completion of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium also playing a vital role in their upward trajectory.
Premier League Clubs Continue to Dominate Top 20
While one Premier League side may have dropped out of the top 20 in this year’s Money League, English clubs still dominate the standings. Overall, eight of the top 20 teams are English, whereas in comparison, there are only four Italian sides (Juventus, Inter, Roma and Napoli) inside the top 20.
Elsewhere, there are three Spanish sides (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid), while there are also three German sides (Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke). Lastly, there are two French sides (Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon).
The top English side was Manchester United once again , who finished third, while Everton placed 19th in the standings – two places lower than in Deloitte’s last report. Liverpool remain in seventh, despite their Champions League success.
Importance of Champions League Football
The Champions League is a competition every club wants to be involved in, and Deloitte’s Money League has once again underlined the importance of it in a financial sense.
Manchester United’s revenue increased by £37.3m (6%) and Deloitte claim that this was ‘almost wholly driven’ by a return to the Champions League, the ‘improved distribution from UEFA’ for the new rights cycle, and also because the Red Devils reached the quarter final of the competition last season.
However, it is not all positive news for the Red Devils…actually, far from it.
The report adds: “With the club failing to qualify for the Champions League in 2019/20, Manchester United find themselves in a precarious position in Money League terms.
“The risks the club are facing in Money League terms could be further exacerbated by the likely negative revenue impact to some key commercial deals of a failure to participate in the Champions League for two or more consecutive seasons.”
United predict revenue of £560-580m in 2019/20 and this will likely see the club fall to its lowest ever Money League position in Deloitte’s next edition.
“This could also put the Red Devils at risk of losing its position as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club for the first time in Money League history,” the report continues.
As for Arsenal, they fell two places to 11th – the club’s lowest position in the Money League since 2000/01. Deloitte claim that this highlights the financial consequences of their absence from the Champions League for a second consecutive season.
While they did reach the Europa League final last season, this was not enough to see them keep their place inside the top ten. They are also no longer north London’s highest revenue generating club, with Spurs having overtaken them.
The CR7 Effect
Fans will long argue over whether Lionel Messi is a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo, or in other words, who the G.O.A.T. really is.
However, what cannot be argued with is the fact that Ronaldo has a very large fanbase. In fact, Deloitte note that the Portuguese superstar actually has more followers on Instagram than both Real Madrid and Barcelona combined – combined!
As a result, he ‘undoubtedly’ increased Juventus’ commercial appeal. The Italian side regained their spot inside the top ten, with their revenue increasing by €65.2m (17%).
Ronaldo’s arrival has clearly had a massive impact on the club. Deloitte said: “Juve were able to leverage this position, notably with adidas, who paid a €15m resigning bonus, in part due to an increase in brand visibility in 2018/19.”