US business magazine Forbes has released its list of the most valuable football clubs in the world. Cue semi-frantic discussion at every pub in the land this evening. But footie fans really shouldn’t be surprised: the club has been on storming form this year, announcing revenues of £175m for the final quarter of 2011. And this is no flash in the pan either. The Reds have topped the bill for eight years in a row.
Not only that, but they’re also a screaming success on the field, with 12 Premiership titles under their belt and probably a 13th to follow in a few weeks time.
So what do Americans know about football? Not much, but they do know about money…As of 2012, the Forbes study reckons that Manchester United club is worth £1.4bn, kicking Real Madrid into second place with £1.17bn, and putting Barcelona third at £1.07bn. Rival British clubs don’t come close to Fergie’s super-team in the value stakes: Chelsea FC was valued at £473m, coming seventh on the list, and Manchester City came 13th at £275m.
Football purists might look at these results and shudder. Never before has the beautiful game been so awash with cash. But where other clubs simply lose a lot of money, Manchester United is actually run rather well and is squeezing some profit out of the whole exercise.
Forbes explains that key to Manchester United’s success is that they have a global fan base of around 330 million people, making them the most valuable international team of any sport across the world, including baseball’s New York Yankees, and the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys in America.
And these staggering sums are still going up. The Champions’ League teams are ‘going to continue to get richer’ says Forbes. But with all the talk of how it is nigh on impossible to run a football team at a profit, MT can’t help thinking it’s good to see someone actually doing some good business in the bad-business game.