During what has been one of the most testing times the football industry has ever had to endure, the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, uncertain return of fans to the stadium and differing approaches to broadcast and commercial contracts has made it intensely difficult for football clubs to generate revenue.
On Tuesday, Deloitte’s Sports Business Group released the 24th edition of the “Football Money League”, which profiles the financial performance of football clubs. The Money League charted the financial performances of the highest revenue-generating clubs during the disrupted 2019-20 season. Despite facing bankruptcy, Barcelona remained atop the Money League, while Premier League clubs Man United, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur featured in the top 10 clubs during a year hampered monetarily by the impact of the coronavirus.
We take a look at the Top 10 Highest Revenue generating Football Clubs in 2019/20 and their varied circumstances:
1. FC Barcelona - €715.1m:
The €44.2m decline in commercial revenue was primarily driven by a decrease in merchandising and stadium tours revenue with lockdown restrictions preventing visits to the stadium. The club has taken steps to reverse this decline with the recent announcement of a one-year extension of its partnership with shirt front sponsor Rakuten for the 2021/22 season, albeit with the value of the deal adjusted to reflect the current situation. The club will be working hard to secure an extension or replacement to its training kit and sleeve sponsor, Beko, which expires at the end of the 2020/21 season.
2. Real Madrid - €714.9m:
On the pitch, it was a successful season domestically, with the club winning the La Liga title for the first time since 2016/17. In Europe, a second successive exit at the Champions League Round of 16 was a disappointment following a three-year run of winning the competition previously. Real Madrid’s revenue fell by €42.4m (6%) to €714.9m, largely attributable to the impact of COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, matchday revenue was the most severely impacted, falling by €36.6m (25%) to €108.2m, whilst broadcast revenue also slipped by €33.9m (13%) to €224m. Impressively, commercial revenue increased by €28.1m (8%) to €382.7m, influenced by the extension of the club’s partnership with adidas to 2028, and increased success in merchandising operation
3. Bayern Munich - €634.1m:
Bayern Munich celebrated its 120th anniversary with a coveted treble of the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League, helping to deliver the lowest overall revenue decrease (4%) of the Money League top ten. In May 2020 Douyin (TikTok) became an official partner in China and the Bavarians were the first to produce a weekly interactive livestream on the social media platform.
4. Manchester United - €580.4m:
The Red Devils remain the top commercial revenue generating Premier League club, totalling £282.1m, and the fourth highest in the Money League. United’s return to the Champions League in 2020/21 will undoubtedly help boost broadcast and commercial revenue, although the absence of fans at home matches will continue to restrict matchday income.
5. Liverpool - €558.6m:
Despite Liverpool’s continued on-pitch success, broadcast revenue decreased by £59.9m in comparison to 2018/19 as a proportion of Premier League distributions was deferred into the financial year ending in 2021 as a result of the extended season. the new Nike arrangements coming into effect for the 2020/21 season, the club will be confident of increased merchandising sales through the successful utilisation of Nike’s global distribution network, capitalising on its on-pitch success.
6. Manchester City - €549.2m:
Commercial revenue growth was largely attributable to the club’s new deal with technical kit provider Puma, the long-term agreement providing a step-change in revenue from the previous deal with Nike, as well as the commencement of the agreement with training kit partner, Marathonbet.
7. Paris Saint-Germain - €540.6m:
From a commercial perspective, PSG will be looking to continue capitalising on the strength of its growing global brand, with the start of a successful collaboration with Nike Jordan supplemented by a ten-year extension to its ecommerce, manufacturing and licensing deal with Fanatics. With ongoing challenges in respect of Ligue 1’s domestic broadcast rights, the onus is on the club to deliver its own future revenue growth via commercial and matchday revenue streams.
8. Chelsea - €469.7m:
The fall in commercial revenue of £10.5m (6%) was driven by the effects of the closure of non-match day activities from March 2020 and decreased pre-season revenue. This was offset to a certain extent by an increase in sponsorship revenue from new and existing partner renewals.
9. Tottenham Hotspur - €445.7m:
Tottenham was the only club in the Money League top ten to record an increase in matchday revenue. Commercial revenue was boosted through the hosting of two NFL matches during October 2019, the production of the Amazon All or Nothing documentary and the signing of a multi-year partnership with HSBC. The club recently agreed its first ever sleeve sponsorship with online car retailer, Cinch, and will also hope to secure a significant naming rights partnership for the stadium in future as the commercial market recovers from the pandemic.
10. Juventus - €397.9m:
The 36% decline in matchday revenue is the largest percentage decline in matchday revenue of all Money League clubs. Therefore, a swift full return of fans to stadia at the earliest opportunity will provide a welcome boost to revenue. Juventus is focused on growing its brand both domestically and internationally with the continued exploration of innovative opportunities, including fashion brand collaborations, the J-Hotel and entering a first-of-its-kind arrangement with Amazon to broadcast Juventus TV on its Amazon Prime streaming platform.
The serious impact of the pandemic has seen some of the biggest clubs push through competition reform to guarantee bigger revenues. Further speculation has mounted over a breakaway European Super League, but last week FIFA and UEFA warned any players that took part in such a competition would risk being banned from major international tournaments such as the World Cup.
The full impact of COVID-19 may not be realized for years to come, with the uncertainty forcing existing and potential broadcast and commercial partners to seriously consider the size of investment in the coming seasons.
Source: Deloitte UK Football Money League