Real Madrid were the world’s highest-earning football club in 2012-13, racking up a record ninth successive season at the top of Deloitte’s Football Money League.
The Spaniards made a total of €518.9 million over the course of the campaign, out-earning rivals Barcelona by €36.3m. Manchester United, who held the No.1 spot between 1996-97 and 2003-04, dropped out of the top three in the Deloitte chart for the first time, with Champions League winners Bayern Munich collecting €7.4m more than the English champions.
The big gains, though, were made by Paris Saint-Germain, who leapt from 10th place to fifth in the rankings thanks to an 81 per cent year-on-year gain in revenue.
The Parisians earned their first French league title for 19 years during the campaign and also made the lucrative signing of David Beckham from LA Galaxy for the second half of the season before his retirement from football. The increased pulling power of the Qatari-owned club resulted in them generating the highest commercial revenue in the game at €254.7m.
For the first time in the history of the list, recording the revenues of sides from around the world, the top 30 clubs all made in excess of €100m during the course of the campaign. This compares to just one club – Manchester United – breaking the same barrier in the first release for season 1996/97.
As with the 2011-12 list, the Premier League is the best represented division, with six clubs appearing. Serie A and the Bundesliga each have four clubs, while only Atletico Madrid join Madrid and Barcelona from La Liga. Fenerbahce join Galatasaray to ensure that Turkey have two representatives for the first time.
But the continued dominance of the two Spanish giants could soon be under threat, according to Austin Houlihan, a senior consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.
“Real Madrid still enjoy a healthy gap over Barcelona and have done over the past few years,” Houlihan told Goal. “The interesting thing, along with Barcelona being expected to accrue over €500m in revenue next year, is around Manchester United. If they continue to qualify for Europe, and with the Chevrolet sponsorship deal in 2014-15, then they have a real opportunity to challenge the top two.”
But Houlihan also believes that there will be some positive change in the Spaniards’ figures due to the likely new La Liga TV deal which is touted for two seasons’ time.
“They are continuing to discuss a collective distribution model and the year they are working towards is 2015-16,” Houlihan explains.
“What has happened in Serie A since 2010-11 is that they experienced an overall uplift in the overall value of collective deals compared to individual deals, so there are promising signs for Spain.”
Lower down, the rise of Galatasaray and Fenerbahce reflects a desire to bring some of the attractiveness of other leagues to emerging nations.
“It shows a strong fanbase in growing economies and a desire to push the elite in the big five leagues,” Houlihan continues. “You also have Corinthians just outside the top 20.
“We expect to see them continue to challenge for places further up the standings.”
Those gains could also see Italian clubs fall further, with no Serie A outfit in the top eight this year.
“Italy have stagnated in terms of revenue,” Houlihan tells Goal. “A key reason behind that is stadia and the need to invest in and improve their facilities – which will have a knock-on effect to commercial and matchday revenues.
“If you look at Juventus’ new stadium and the revenue boost they have received since redeveloping, then a lot of other Italian clubs will look at those benefits.
“The challenge they have is that the stadia is owned by the local municipality, which makes it even more challenging to push through redevelopment plans.”
All revenue figures in the Money League report are based on the 2012-13 season or the most recent available calendar year.
It focuses on each club’s revenues from day to day football operations, including matchday ticket and corporate hospitality sales, broadcast rights revenues including distributions from participation in European club competitions, sponsorship, merchandising, and other commercial operations, but excluding transfer income.