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Madrid, Barcelona remain top football moneymakers

January 23, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Real Madrid and Barcelona are football’s biggest moneymakers for the fifth straight year, while Manchester United lost its place among the top three biggest-earning clubs for the first time.

United, which is enduring a lackluster season under new manager David Moyes, dropped to fourth behind European champion Bayern Munich in the Football Money League compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte.

The biggest growth in 2012-13 was at Paris Saint-Germain, which leapt from 10th to 5th as the club’s global profile was enhanced by David Beckham’s four-month spell in the championship-winning team.

Madrid stayed top for the ninth straight year after revenue rose slightly to 518.9 million euros ($703 million), while Spanish rival Barcelona had revenues of 482.6 million euros ($654 million).

“Real Madrid remain firmly at the top of the Money League, even though the club experienced a trophyless end to the 2012-13 season,” said Dan Jones, a partner in the sports business group at Deloitte. “Despite tough economic conditions, particularly within Spain, the club’s ability to generate substantial commercial revenue both domestically and internationally is central to their success.

“This helped widen the gap to their nearest rivals in the Money League, Barcelona, to 36 million pounds. Both Spanish clubs enjoy substantial revenue from individually negotiated broadcast deals, which is key in contributing to their overall revenue advantage over their European peers.”

In Germany, Bayern’s income leapt 17 percent to 431.2 million euros ($584 million) as the German club won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

United’s growth was slower — 13 percent to 363.2 million pounds ($602 million) — as the team collected the Premier League title before manager Alex Ferguson retired in May.

“It is the first time Manchester United have dropped out of the top three but Bayern had an exceptional year,” Jones said. “Next year United will have the Chevrolet (shirt sponsorship) deal plus other new commercial deals in their figures, and the new Premier League TV deal so we are confident they will be back in the top three.”

But in the Premier League, United is seventh, 14 points behind leader Arsenal, with a fight to secure one of the four Champions League spots.

“The longer term depends in part what happens on the pitch and if they do not qualify for next season’s Champions League that is probably worth 50 million euros directly in terms of money from TV and attendances at Old Trafford,” Jones said.

Deloitte revealed details of clubs yet to publish their 2012-13 accounts, including two of the biggest spending clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, who face a challenge complying with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. The Gulf-owned teams have benefited from sponsorship deals related to their owners.

Income at Qatar-owned PSG soared by 180 percent to 398.8 million euros ($540 million) as it won the French league for the first time in 19 years.

“We expect to see them become a mainstay in the top five in years to come, backed by their ambitious Qatari owners and strong commercial support,” said Austin Houlihan of Deloitte.

“The high-profile signing of David Beckham in the second half of the 2012-13 season only served to enhance the club’s worldwide profile. Importantly, commercial success off the pitch is translating into improved on-pitch performance for the club.”

Man City’s turnover rose by 17 percent to 271 million pounds ($449 million) despite the Abu Dhabi-owned team failing to win a trophy last season.

Two Premier League rivals are directly below City, with Chelsea seeing turnover drop slightly to 260 million pounds ($431 million) and Arsenal’s rising to 243.6 million pounds ($404 million).


Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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