Premier League giants Manchester United have managed to dethrone 2016/17 UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid from the top sport for the first time in five years. Los Blancos have surprisingly dropped down to third, while their arch-rivals FC Barcelona were named in second place. Manchester United have been named the most valuable football club in the world, surpassing Real Madrid for the first time in KPMG’s ranking of Europe’s 32 biggest clubs.
According to Forbes: “All revenues and operating income figures… are for the 2015-16 season. Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt). Operating income is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, player trading and disposal of player registrations.”
The Red Devils were valued at $3.69 billion (R47.4 billion), while the Blaugrana ended up on $3.64 billion (R46.6 billion) and Los Blancos at $3.58 billion (R45.9 billion).
Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Manchester City make up the rest of the top five, with valuations of $2.71 billion (R34.7 billion) and $2.08 billion (R26.6 billion), respectively.
Here are the 10 most valuable football clubs in the world, according to Forbes:
- Manchester United (Premier League) – Valuation: $3.69 billion (R47.4bn)
This is because the Europa League winners automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League, a competition that activates an Old Trafford pay policy that sees the majority of United’s players net a 25% wage increase (a combined £38 million). United players would also split a £1 million bonus under a performance-led incentive.
Currently, players contracted to United are subject to an assumption that the club always participates in the Champions League. Failure to reach the competition results in a 25% pay reduction. This is because key sponsor Adidas has a stipulation in its contract with United that would result in a 30% cut (£22.5 million) from their £75 million annual deal, if “United fail to qualify for the Champions League in consecutive seasons.”
- FC Barcelona (La Liga) – Valuation: $3.64 billion (R46.6bn)
Spanish soccer giant Barcelona reported record revenue of €708 million on September 2017 or $770 million based on average exchange rates over the last 12 months.
In 2015, FC Barcelona was the 7th most valuable sports team brands worldwide, with an estimated brand value of 437 million U.S. dollars, ranking third out of the world football’s ‘Big Four’ (Real Madrid, Manchester United, FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich). Barca’s ownership of the stadium Camp Nou, Europe’s largest football stadium, with a capacity of 98,787, contributed to KPMG’s healthy estimation of their enterprise value. The stadium has an average attendance of over 70,000.
It was a disappointing season for Barcelona on the pitch as it finished behind rival Real Madrid in the La Liga standings and lost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but total revenue was $14 million more than the club’s projected figure and up $31 million from the 2015-16 season.
- Real Madrid (La Liga) – Valuation: $3.58 billion (R45.9bn)
Real Madrid were crowned 2016/17 champions of La Liga, finishing three points clear of archrivals Barcelona after an incredibly consistent season.
Los Blancos lost just three times in league play and ended the campaign on a six-game winning streak, giving Zinedine Zidane his first league title as a manager and third trophy of the season—still with the UEFA Champions League final ahead.
- Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – Valuation: $2.71 billion (R34.7bn)
FC Bayern Munich has long been one of the most valuable football brands in the world, according to Brand Finance. After ranking first in 2014 and second in 2015, Bayern’s brand value slipped down the top football team brand table in 2016. The team’s fall to fifth place, with a value of about 860 million U.S. dollars, could potentially have been foreseen from the drop in revenue generated from its commercial and broadcasting streams in the 2014/15 season. By contrast, the team’s value as estimated by Forbes has increased over the past few years. This figure topped 2.6 million U.S. dollars in 2016.
The statistic depicts the brand / team value of the German football club FC Bayern Munich from 2011 to 2017. In 2017, FC Bayern Munich had a brand value of 1.22 billion U.S. dollars.
- Manchester City (Premier League) – Valuation: $2.08 billion (R26.6bn)
The statistic depicts the brand/team value of the English football club Manchester City from 2011 to 2017. In 2012, Manchester City had a brand value of 302 million U.S. dollars. Brand Finance put Manchester City in fourth place in terms of brand value in 2016, at around 1.1 billion U.S. dollars, behind just three other top football clubs: Manchester United, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Manchester City’s run to the Champions League semi-finals saw them grow revenue to €524.9m (£392.6m), overtake Paris Saint-Germain and give England a second club in the top five for the first time since 2011-12.
- Arsenal (Premier League) – Valuation: $1.93 billion (R24.7bn)
In 2012, Arsenal had a brand value of 388 million U.S. dollars.
Arsenal’s brand value has increased consistently since 2013, thanks in part to its winning the FA Cup two years in a row. With its latest win, the club became the most successful in the history of the competition with twelve trophies. In 2014/15, the club also retained the FA Community Shield, beating Chelsea and further boosting its brand value. By Forbes’ estimate, the club’s team value jumped almost 55 percent in 2016, amounting to more than 2 billion U.S. dollars.
- Chelsea (Premier League) – Valuation: $1.85 billion (R23.7bn)
In 2012, Chelsea FC had a brand value of 398 million U.S. dollars.
Despite a continuous rise in brand value over the past few years, Chelsea FC slipped three places to eighth on the European football team brand table in 2016, according to Brand Finance. The small decrease in brand value to 776 million U.S. dollars could be explained in part by a lack of Champions League prize money but was mainly due to the negative growth in GBP exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, similarly to Manchester United. By contrast, the team’s value as estimated by Forbes topped 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.
- Liverpool (Premier League) – Valuation: $1.49 billion (R19.1bn)
In 2012, Liverpool FC had a brand value of 367 million U.S. dollars. Despite an increase in brand value to almost 750 million U.S. dollars in 2016, and being the fifth most valuable Premier League brand, Liverpool dropped one place to 9th on the European team brand value table as estimated by Brand Finance. Despite this, Forbes’ estimation of the team’s value topped 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in the same year. Liverpool struggled in the 2014/15 English Premier League season and finished sixth in the table. This was followed by a disappointing start to the 2015/16 season and the dismissal of then-manager Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers was replaced with the highly regarded ex-Borussia Dortmund coach, Jürgen Klopp. In Klopp’s first season at Liverpool, he took the team to the finals of the Football League Cup and UEFA Europa League, only to lose to Manchester City and Sevilla, respectively.
Liverpool’s major revenue comes from the broadcasting and commercial streams, with around 165 million U.S. dollars and 155 million U.S. dollars, respectively.
- Juventus (Serie A) – Valuation: $1.26 billion (R16.1bn)
The Juventus Football Club, colloquially known as Juve, is a professional Italian association football club based in Turin, Piedmont and founded in 1897. Currently it is owned by the Agnelli family.
Over the survey period, the revenue from UEFA competitions peaked in the first half of 2015/2015, when it reached 88.6 million euros. As of the survey period, the revenue from sponsorship and advertising of Juventus FC was approximately 36.5 million euros. In the 2011/12 season, Juventus FC’s revenue from broadcasting amounted to 90.6 million euros.
- Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) – Valuation: $1.06 billion (R13.6bn)
In the 2017/18 season Tottenham Hotspur received 35 million GBP from its jersey sponsor AIA. Only Barcelona and Real Madrid have more valuable squads than Tottenham Hotspur, according to a new study. The Barca squad was named as the most valuable in Europe, worth €1,071 million (£924m), with Real’s worth the second-highest amount at €921m. The report said the Tottenham squad was worth €799m and had cost €274m to assemble.
In the 2011/12 season, Tottenham Hotspur’s revenue from broadcasting amounted to 76.1 million euros. In the 2014/15 season, the kit sponsorship revenue of Tottenham Hotspur amounted to 15 million U.S. dollars.