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30 November 2023

UAE money lifts global football club incomes

Combined revenue for the Top 20 Money League clubs rose to Dh30.8bn. (Reuters)

By Staff

Helped by the regional carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, the world’s 20 highest earning clubs reached $8.4 billion (Dh30.8bn) last season, up over $1bn (Dh3.67bn) on the previous year, according to the 18th edition of the Football Money League from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

The influence of Middle East based commercial partners is again evident in this year's Money League, with five of this year's top 10 clubs having Middle Eastern shirt front sponsors.

Paris Saint-Germain generated record commercial revenue of $444.6m, helped by partnerships with Emirates airline and the Qatar Tourism Authority.

While Manchester City's continued deals with partners including Etihad Airways contributed to a 16 per cent increase in their commercial revenue in local currency.

Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Investment from the region continues to play an important part in the revenue growth of many of the world’s largest football clubs.

With several recent commercial partnership renewals, as well as the imminent development of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, the importance of Middle East partners for Money League clubs looks set to continue.”

Jones added: “The growth experienced within the top 20 has been remarkable, with Manchester United and Real Madrid passing the $700m revenue marker.

Commercial and broadcast revenues are now more important than ever to clubs, to enable them to compete financially to put the best talent on the pitch.

This has led to further dominance from the 'big five' European leagues this year, with just Galatasaray making it in from outside of those leagues.”

For the tenth year running, Real Madrid sit at the top of the Money League with revenues of $745m after growing revenue by 6 per cent in local currency.

Jones said: “Winning the Champions League for an unprecedented tenth time and staying at the top of the Money League made 2013-14 the year of the "Doble Décima" for Real Madrid.

The club's continued success on the field is complemented by its financial strength and their accomplishment emphasises their position as the most successful European club side of all time. However, their commercial supremacy is being challenged by Manchester United, among others."

Manchester United achieved revenues of $703m in 2013-14, making them the second highest earning football club in the world, jumping two places from fourth and becoming only the second club ever to surpass $700m.

Austin Houlihan, Senior Manager at Deloitte, said: "Despite a poor on-pitch season in 2013-14, United's commercial strategy of securing global and regional partners is delivering substantial growth.

Commercial revenue has grown 83 per cent in local currency in the last three years. Thanks to the latest Premier League media deals, broadcast revenue also increased to $220.2m.

Their absence this season from European competition will be felt in next year's Money League position, but if they can return to the Champions League in 2015/16 there is a strong possibility they could be top in two years' time."

Eight Premier League clubs are ranked within the top 20 this year, with Newcastle United and Everton joining the six English clubs in last year's Money League. Strikingly, almost half (14) of the top 30 clubs are English.

Houlihan explained: "The Premier League's new broadcast deals have translated into big revenue increases across the English top flight. In fact, every Premier League club reported record revenues in 2013/14.

Between them, the eight English clubs in our top 20 achieved total broadcast revenues of $1.5bn.

The fact that all the clubs in the Premier League are in the top 40 is testament to the huge appeal of the league globally and also the equality of the distributions the clubs enjoy relative to their European counterparts.

Additionally, the Premier League is currently negotiating for the next cycle of media rights and further uplifts are anticipated."