FC Barcelona sits top the ‘Football Money League’ for the first time ever, according to Deloitte’s Football Money League, a UK research firm which lists the highest earning football clubs worldwide.
Barcelona lead the ranking for the 2018/19 season after breaking the 800 million euro barrier, and finishes ahead of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who make up the rest of the Top 5.
In the 23rd edition of Deloitte’s Football Money League the gap between first and second (83m euros/£73.6m) has never been bigger.
Barca’s substantial jump in year-on-year revenue is put down to the club taking charge of its own merchandising and licensing activities.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Barca is a clear example of a club adapting to changing market conditions, reducing the reliance on broadcast revenue and focusing on growing revenues within its control.”
Deloitte expect Barca to remain number one in next year’s standings and state the Catalan club is on course to achieve its stated ambition to be the first to generate revenue of over one billion euros in years to come.
Deloitte notes that FC Barcelona, which finished second last year, has gone from 690.4 million euros in the 2017/18 season to 840.8 million in 2018/19 (in accordance with the methodology that the company uses to calculate its figures), and attributes this rise of 150.4 million to the Club’s change of policy regarding certain operations, particularly taking over management of its own commercial licenses via the Barça Licensing & Merchandising (BLM) company that was set up for this purpose in July 2018. “Recognising the power of its name, the Club has acquired control of its merchandising and commercial licenses, rather than entrusting them to third party operations”, states Deloitte in its report.
It adds that “Barçelona is a clear example of a club that adapts to an evolving market, reducing its dependence on revenue derived from TV rights and putting the focus on revenue that it is able to control directly. The club’s commercial operations have generated revenue of 383.5 million, a higher figure than the total revenue of the club in twelfth place in the ranking” (Borussia Dortmund).
“With forecasts of future growth of 30 million euros in income from commercial activities, and with total revenue of 880 million euros budgeted for the 2019/20 season, we expect Barça to top the table once again next year. The club is well poised to become the first to break the billion euro barrier in the Money League in the coming years.”
Deloitte’s Football Money League methodology
Deloitte’s study does not include revenue from player transfer fees. The top 20 generated a record £8.2bn of combined revenue in 2018-19, an increase of 11% on the previous year.
Only Olympique Lyonnais – ranked 17th – and SSC Napoli – ranked 20th – broke into the top 20 after the 2018-19 campaign.
Italian champions Juventus moved back into the top 10 and Deloitte said the arrival of forward Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid “increased Juventus’ commercial appeal”.
Ronaldo has more Instagram followers than Real Madrid and Barcelona combined.
“As a result, Juve saw an uplift in commercial revenue in part due to an increase in brand visibility in 2018/19,” Deloitte said. “The club also increased revenue from merchandise sales as a result of signing the marquee player.”