Barcelona are top of Deloitte’s Football Money League for the first time since its inception during the 1996/7 season. And the Catalans have become the first club to break the 800 million euros barrier in the survey.
The Camp Nou giants’ revenue totaled 840.8 million euros, leapfrogging arch rivals Real Madrid in football’s rich list. Los Blancos came in second with a turnover of 757.3 million euros.
The gap between first-place Barcelona and second-place Real Madrid in the survey is the widest ever recorded.
Manchester United and Bayern Munich remain in third and fourth position, with revenues of 711.5 million and 660.1 million euros respectively.
Paris Saint Germain have entered into the top five for the first time, having accumulated 635.9 million euros.
It’s a total that eclipsed Manchester City’s proceeds, who drop down to sixth with an income of 610.6 million euros.
WHY BARCELONA ARE FIRST IN REVENUE
Deloitte concluded that Barcelona have adapted to the current market conditions and reduced the reliance of income from broadcasting rights. Their commercial operations grew significantly by 19%, or 60.9 million euros. This was achieved by the decision to bring the club’s merchandising and licensing operations in-house.
It’s a reorganization that has given them additional control over how its own products are promoted and sold.
Barca will also have the ability to report the changes to its operations on a gross revenue basis.
The increase in autonomy has seen the merchandising and licensing wing of Barcelona’s business generate 63 million euros in its first year. And the club projects further increases.
Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Roma have all made similar moves in recent times to control their own licensing.
Barcelona’s broadcasting revenue also spiraled upwards by 75.1 million euros, a substantial leap of 34%. This can be attributed to UEFA’s more lucrative Champions League broadcasting deal beginning last year. Also, Barcelona’s progress to the semifinals, in comparison to the quarterfinal elimination the previous year against Roma, boosted its total.
MANCHESTER UNITED “AT RISK” CLAIMS DELOITTE
Manchester United’s revenues increased by 6% to a total of £37.3 million. The main driver for this increase was reaching the quarterfinal of the Champions League.
United are not participating in the Champions League this year. The club’s prediction for revenues for 2019/20 is £560 to 580 million.
This could see the Old Trafford club fall to its lowest ever money league position.
The report concluded that United are at risk of losing its status as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club. It’s a risk that could be aggravated by the failure to qualify for the Champions League for the next few seasons.
These have negative knocks on several commercial deals that United have negotiated.
Yet the club’s global appeal, still hands them commercial opportunities that few can match Deloitte said.
PREMIER LEAGUE HAS MOST TEAMS IN TOP 20
The top 20 in Deloitte’s Football Money League comprises of teams who are considered to be from the top five leagues in Europe. These are clubs from England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
Yet the Premier League has the most clubs in the top 20, with eight teams included.
Italy has four teams, with Juventus the highest placed at tenth. Juve generated revenue of 459.7 million euros.
Liverpool follow the Manchester clubs in seventh position, having created earnings of 604.7 million euros.
Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are in eighth and ninth respectively, with Arsenal in 11th place.
In 18th place in the survey comes another London club in West Ham United, with Everton on their heels in 19th.
Premier League prominence is due to the amount that the league’s broadcasting rights command.
It was found that in the top 30 of the money league, which also includes Leicester, Wolves and Crystal Palace, that if the table was ranked on commercial revenue alone, then seven of the eleven Premier League clubs would finish in a lower position.
BROADCASTING RIGHTS MAY HAVE PEAKED
On average, broadcasting rights accounted for 33% of the revenue for the top five clubs in the study. This rose up to 65% for the clubs that are placed between 16th and 20th.
The surge in broadcast contracts in the past two decades has allowed clubs to grow at an accelerated pace.
New competitors have now entered the broadcasting contracts, such as Amazon.
Whether leagues have reached a ceiling for television rights is debatable.
The challenge for the Premier League and all major European leagues Deloitte reflected, is to keep delivering a product that retains interest. The most recent Premier League domestic broadcasting rights cycle for 2019-22, fetched around £5 billion, down from the previous deal. Yet the international packages boosted the total coverage rights value up to £9.2 billion, resulting in an overall increase.
Deloitte said in the report that clubs will need to focus on creating their own revenue, like Barcelona have done, given the uncertainly of broadcasting rights in the future.