Manchester United relegated in football rich list

The football club has dropped out of the top three richest clubs in the world for the first time in 17 years. Almost as bad as their on-pitch woes.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 18 Nov 2014

Caloo, calay: it’s the day Deloitte publishes its annual Football Money League report.
The good/bad (depending on where your allegiances lie) news this year is that, for the first time in the report’s 17-year history, Manchester United (2012/13 revenue: €423.8m, or £346.6m) has dropped out of the top three richest clubs in the world, overtaken by Bayern Munich (revenue: €431.2m).

A woeful season, and now this - is Man U suffering after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson? Things were bound to go downhill when Fergie stepped down after a record-breaking 27 years, but the question is whether David Moyes can stick around for long enough to turn things around. At just seventh in the league, 14 points behind leader Arsenal, it doesn't look good...

Nevertheless, Austin Houlihan, senior manager at Deloitte’s sports in business group, reckons this is only a blip for Manchester United.

‘A number of the club’s recent commercial deals will boost revenue in 2013/14, so this fall to fourth place may only be temporary. These deals, combined with the impact of the improved three-year Premier League broadcast deals from 2013/14, mean they are likely to get close to the €500m revenue mark in next year’s money league,’ he said. Coupled with its freshly-signed $560m sponsorship deal with General Motors, which will last seven seasons, things could be about to look up.

Elsewhere on the list, with earnings of €518.9m and €482.6m respectively, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona retain first and second places, while Man United slips to fourth and Paris Saint-Germain, whose revenues rose to €398.8m in 2013, jumps from 10th to fifth.

Among the English clubs in the top 20, Manchester City climbed one place to sixth, while Chelsea and Arsenal both dropped by two places, to seventh and eighth respectively.  Liverpool dropped to 12th place, from ninth last year, while Tottenham Hotspur stayed in 14th. So not a great year for Britain’s finest.

The figures involved are staggering: total earnings for the world’s 20 highest-earning clubs grew by 8% last season, to €5.4bn. Real Madrid alone generated commercial revenues of €211.6m, up 4% from the year before, while broadcast rights earned it €188.3m, up 3%. And for the first time, all the clubs in the top 30 generated more than €100m – compare that with the first survey back in 1996/97, when only Manchester United was making that much.

‘It wasn’t until 2007/08 that all of the top 20 clubs generated in excess of this amount,’ explained partner Dan Jones.

‘This revenue growth is a demonstration of the enduring appetite for the world’s most popular sport on the global stage.’ Well – that, or a demonstration of the crazy lengths people are willing to go to indulge the desires of the masses. Whatever…

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