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The ‘commercial train’ in European football is still running

According to ‘the Deloitte football money league 2013’, Real Madrid came out as the ‘leading goal scorer’ in terms of securing the no. 1 spot measured on revenues. The Spanish powerhouse led football’s ‘money league’ by exceeding €500 mio. in revenues for the 2011/2012 fiscal year (1 year). Earning the top spot, Real Madrid beats Spanish rivals FC Barcelona (no. 2 on the list) and the English Premier League side Manchester United (no. 3 on the list). Real Madrid saw a 7 % increase in revenues and reached total revenues of €512.6 mio. to become the first sports club to go beyond the €500 mio. revenue mark. The commercial progress of Real Madrid illustrates the substantial ‘commercial growth’ (measured on revenue growth), which Real Madrid has realized. Deloitte’s report highlights the fact that European top clubs capitalize on extensive domestic and global fanbases to drive revenues. The report also shows that all clubs in top 20 are located in one of the big European football markets, i.e. England (7 clubs), Italy (5 clubs), Germany (4 clubs), Spain (2 clubs), and France (2 clubs). A remarkable fact linked to the commercial development in European football stems from comparing the revenues of Real Madrid in the 1996/1997 fiscal year of €85 mio. with the current level just above the €500 mio. mark. This development proves that European top football clubs are ‘somehow recession proof’ thanks to improved commercial partnerships and broadcasting deals.

Top 20, revenues in European football clubs in € mio. (source: Deloitte)
1 Real Madrid 512.6
2 FC Barcelona 483
3 Manchester United 395.9
4 Bayern Munich 368.4
5 Chelsea 322.6
6 Arsenal 290.3
7 Manchester City 285.6
8 AC Milan 256.9
9 Liverpool 233.2
10 Juventus 195.4
11 Borussia Dortmund 189.1
12 Internazionale 185.9
13 Tottenham Hotspur 178.2
14 Schalke 04 174.5
15 Napoli 148.4
16 Olympique de Marseille 135.7
17 Olympique Lyonnais 131.9
18 Hamburger SV 121.1
19 AS Roma 115.9
20 Newcastle United 115.3

Source: Deloitte Sport Group


At the same time, top clubs equal star players. The top 3 clubs in the ‘money league’ benefit from their star players and their global brand reach, which rub off on ‘how many shirts they sell’, ‘what kind of kit deals they can secure’, and ‘how much a shirt sponsor is willing to pay to get its name on the front of the shirt’? Real Madrid broke some barriers when signing a new kit deal with Adidas while Manchester United may surpass that level when re-negotiating with Nike. Fans identify with the biggest stars in football and hence the biggest brands in football exemplifying a ‘hybrid sports branding relationship, which top clubs can take advantage of in order to ‘increase’ their revenues.


Most sold football shirts per year from 2007 to 2012 (source: Rohlmann,

Manchester United (Nike): 1,400,000

Real Madrid (Adidas): 1,400,000

Barcelona (Nike): 1,150,000

Chelsea (Adidas): 910,000

Bayern München (Adidas): 880,000

Liverpool (Adidas, now Warrior): 810,000

Arsenal (Nike): 800,000

Juventus (Nike): 480,000

Inter (Nike): 425,000

AC Milan (Adidas): 350,000


More inspiration:

Deloitte Football Money League 2013 & SportingIntelligence




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