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The world's richest soccer clubs

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The most popular sport on the planet, soccer – or football, as it's known in Europe – is a multi-billion dollar business.

Europe is by far the most lucrative market in the world, home to world class stars such as Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Players of Ronaldo and Messi's stature command huge transfer fees, earn astronomical amounts of cash, and perform in front of a global TV audience every week, delighting fans with their exploits on the pitch.

The financial rewards for Europe's top clubs are lucrative, too. The winner of this season's UEFA Champions League – Europe's premier club competition – could eventually collect 37.4 million euros ($50.7 million), not counting money from TV rights.

UEFA – European soccer's governing body – estimates that gross commercial revenue from the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup is 1.34 billion euros ($1.82 billion).

The Deloitte Football Money League profiles the game's highest earning teams, and is regarded as the most up-to-date and reliable analysis of a club's financial performance.

We've ranked the ten best financial performers for the 2012/13 season. We've converted figures from euros and pounds to dollars based on the current exchange rate.

By Anmar Frangoul, Special to CNBC.com

10: AC Milan

Claudio Villa | Getty Images

League: Serie A (Italy)
2012/13 revenue: $356.3 million
2011/12 revenue: $348 million

Currently sitting 11th in their league and having recently sacked their coach Massimilano Allegri, replacing him with decorated former player Clarence Seedorf, it's fair to say that Italian giants AC Milan are having a tough season.

Revenues for the club have increased by 6.6 million euros ($9 million), but this hasn't stopped them dropping two places to tenth in the Money League. Match day revenue has fallen by 7.4 million euros, a 22 percent decrease, with average home crowds falling to 44,123 in 2012/13, a 9 percent drop on the previous season.

While commercial revenue fell by 1 percent in 2012/13, a number of new deals – which include Chinese tech company Huawei becoming a premium sponsor – will more than likely see the Rossoneri return to growth.

Despite suffering in the league, AC Milan still possess a playing staff littered with star names such as Italy's Mario Balotelli (pictured) and Brazil's Kaka, and it is hoped that a revitalized squad will help to generate results on – and off – the pitch.

9: Juventus

Gabriele Maltinti | Getty Images

League: Serie A (Italy)
2012/13 revenue: $369 million
2011/12 revenue: $264.7 million

Juventus – known as 'The Old Lady' of Italian soccer – is currently enjoying a sporting and financial renaissance. The Turin-based club has moved up four places in the Money League, from 13th to 9th, becoming Italy's leading revenue-generating club.

Coached by club legend Antonio Conte and led on the pitch by ageless midfielder Andrea Pirlo (pictured), they have won back-to-back titles and are currently gunning for a third, leading Italy's Serie A by eight points.

Juventus' revenue in 2012/13 was boosted by a relatively successful campaign in Europe, where they reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League. Broadcast revenue shot up 77 percent to 166 million euros ($225 million), which was almost entirely down to money from UEFA.

Juventus moved into a modern, 41,000-capacity stadium in 2011, and this has helped treble the club's matchday (ticket sales) revenue, which reached 38 million euros in 2012/13.

Commercial revenue in the coming years is expected to be boosted by partnerships with Samsung and online betting company bwin.

8: Arsenal

Clive Mason | Getty Images

League: Premier League (England)
2012/13 revenue:
$403.5 million
2011/12 revenue:
$389.1 million

Despite posting an increase in revenue of £8.7 million ($14 million) on the previous year, Arsenal has dropped two places to 8th in the Money League.

Even though the 2012/13 season began with the London side selling their top scorer, Robin van Persie, to Manchester United, the club battled on the pitch to secure Champions League football for a sixteenth consecutive season.

Broadcast revenue increased to £88.4 million ($146 million), while the club's 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium contributed £92.8 million ($154 million).

Arsenal is the only club in the Money League to have matchday as its largest revenue source. Commercial revenue in 2012/13 was £62.4 million ($103 million), an increase of 19 percent on 2011/12.

The club's financial performance off-the-pitch enabled it to strengthen its squad with the purchase of German playmaker Mesut Özil (pictured) from Real Madrid for a club record fee believed to be £42.4 million ($70 million).

For many, Özil's signing signalled the club's ambition and intent to challenge for silverware this season.

7: Chelsea

Andrew Powell | Liverpool FC | Getty Images

League: Premier League (England)
2012/13 revenue:
$430.9 million
2011/12 revenue:
$432.7 million

Bankrolled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Chelsea saw a small decline in revenue for 2012/13, as it dropped to £260 million ($430.9 million).

While broadcasting revenue fell by £7.4 million ($12.26 million) due to lack of progress in the UEFA Champions League, commercial revenue increased by £13.4 million ($22.2 million) to £83.9 million, thanks in part to the renewal of their shirt sponsorship with Samsung and new global partners including Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world.

Despite winning the UEFA Europa League under Spaniard Rafael Benitez, matchday revenue for Chelsea fell by nine per cent to £70.7 million, another signal that a larger stadium than current home Stamford Bridge is required.

This season saw the much welcomed return of super coach and serial trophy winner José Mourinho (pictured) to the club.

The 'Special One' has a knack of winning trophies, which will be crucial to maintaining the club's position in the Money League's top ten.

6: Manchester City

Chris Brunskill | Getty Images

League: Premier League (England)
2012/13 revenue: $449 million
2011/12 revenue: $383.1 million

Manchester City moved one place up in the 2012/13 Money League to sixth. Since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, took over the club in the 2008/09 season, turnover has jumped from £87 million ($144 million) to a staggering £271 million ($449 million).

Sheikh Mansour is estimated to be worth around £20 billion ($33 billion), and the club has invested heavily in buying talent during his ownership, purchasing the likes of Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero (pictured) in big money deals.

Manchester City's revenue increase is largely down to commercial revenue, which was £143 million ($237 million) in 2012/13. Etihad Airways is to sponsor a new training complex, as well as the club's shirt and stadium.

Matchday revenue increased by 12 per cent to £39.6 million ($65.6 million), helped by an increase in season and general admission ticket prices. It should be noted, however, that Manchester City still offers its fans the cheapest season ticket in the Premier League, priced at £299 ($495).


5: Paris Saint-Germain

John Berry | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

League: Ligue 1 (France)
2012/13 revenue:
$541 million
2011/12 revenue:
$298.7 million

Champions of France, Paris Saint-Germain moved up five places in the Money League from 10th to 5th with a record turnover of €398.8 million ($541 million), a staggering increase of €178.3 million on 2011/12.

Paris Saint-Germain were taken over by Qatar Sports Investments – set up by Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the heir to the Qatari throne – in 2011. Since then, the club's revenue has nearly quadrupled.

The club has seen commercial revenue grow by €114.8 million ($156 million) in the last year, and has seen its global profile boosted by the acquisition of a host of stars, including David Beckham, who played for the club towards the end of the 2012/13 season before retiring, and Sweden's mercurial and explosive center-forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured).

Match day revenue for the Paris club increased to €53.2 million ($72 million), boosted by the club reaching the quarter finals of the Champions League and increased ticket prices.


4: Manchester United

Andrew Yates | AFP | Getty Images

League: Premier League (England)
2012/13 revenue:
$601 million
2011/12 revenue:
$530 million

In his last season at the club, manager Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to yet another league title. Revenue grew by £42.9 million ($71 million) to £363.2 million ($601 million), yet the Red Devils still dropped out of the Money League's top 3.

Despite falling one place, the club is continuing to push forward financially. Commercial revenue increased by £34.9 million ($58 million) to £152.5 million ($252 million), while a world-record sponsorship deal with General Motors will be worth a colossal $559 million to the club over seven years. Matchday revenue for the club rose by 11 per cent to £109.1 million ($180 million).

This season, United are in a period of transition. New manager David Moyes is attempting to fill the void left by Ferguson on the pitch, while Ed Woodward has taken over from David Gill as Chief Executive.

The club is currently languishing 7th in the Premier League. They would need to finish within the top four to secure a place in the Champions League, and will need their top players, including Wayne Rooney (pictured) to be at the top of their game to do so.


3: Bayern Munich

Laurence Griffiths | Getty Images

League: Bundesliga (Germany)
2012/13 revenue: $584.2 million
2011/12 revenue:
$499.1 million

Bavarian powerhouse Bayern Munich pulled off something of a coup last year when they announced that Spanish 'supercoach' Pep Guardiola (pictured) was to take over from veteran Jupp Heynckes for the 2013/14 season.

Heynckes left Guardiola a huge legacy to live up to, having guided Bayern to an unprecedented treble in 2012/13 which saw the club win the UEFA Champions League, the German Bundesliga, and the DFB-Pokal.

Guardiola has started well, winning the Club World Cup at the end of 2013 to further Bayern's reputation as Europe's dominant playing side.

Off the pitch, 2012/13 saw the club move up to third place in the Money League.

Winning the Champions League helped boost broadcast revenue to €107 million ($145 million), a 31 percent increase on the previous year, while matchday revenue was €87.1 million ($117 million).

The club's Allianz Arena had an average home attendance of 71,000 for league games, with matchday revenue coming in at around €3.4 million ($4.6 million) per game.

2: FC Barcelona

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso | Getty Images

League: La Liga (Spain)
2012/13 revenue:
$653.8 million
2011/12 revenue: $654.4 million

FC Barcelona take second place in the Money League for the fifth year running, with only a slight fall in revenue. Led by Argentine superstar Lionel Messi (pictured) – who scored an astonishing 60 goals in 50 appearances – Barcelona stormed to another La Liga title in 2012/13 with a haul of 100 points.

This title, perhaps more than others, was notable for the fact that the team's coach, Tito Vilanova, had to spend several months in New York undergoing treatment for cancer.

The club added to their star studded squad in the summer of 2013 by signing Brazilian prodigy Neymar, 21, for €57 million ($77 million).

Commercial revenue for the Catalan club dropped by €5.9 million ($8 million) in 2012/13, but matchday revenue increased to €117.6 million ($159 million) while broadcast revenue increased by €4.2 million ($5.6 million) to €188.2 million ($255 million).

1: Real Madrid

Antonio Villalba | Real Madrid | Getty Images

League: La Liga (Spain)
2012/13 revenue: $703 million
2011/12 revenue: $694.5 million

For the ninth year running, Real Madrid sit at the top of the Money League with revenue of €518.9 million ($703 million) for 2012/13.

Their financial muscle was again highlighted last summer, when they signed Welsh forward Gareth Bale (pictured, left) for a reported world record fee of £85.3 million ($141 million).

Alongside Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) – who cost £80 million ($132 million) in 2009 and recently won FIFA's Balon d'Or – Real have one of the most devastating attacking sides in soccer.

Broadcast revenue for the club increased by 3 per cent to €188.3 million ($255 million), while commercial revenue was a staggering €211.6 million ($286 million), highlighting the club's global pull.

Matchday revenue, however, dropped to €119 million ($161 million), a decrease of €7.2 million ($9.7 million) on the previous season. This can be attributed, in part, to the ongoing economic crisis Spain is experiencing.

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