English Premier League

Manchester United go top of the table (in soccer’s global rich list) again after 11 years behind Real Madrid

The Red Devils are a long way from winning the English Premier League again but are back on top as soccer’s biggest moneymakers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 10:19am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 10:19am

Manchester United are a long way from winning the English Premier League again but are back on top of another table – as soccer’s biggest moneymakers.

For the first time since 2005, Manchester United overtook Real Madrid in top spot in the soccer finance rankings compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte even as they sit sixth in the Premier League.

In 2015-16 when United won only the FA Cup and failed to qualify for the Champions League, the 20-time league champions generated £515.3 million (689 million, HK$632 billion).

Spanish champions Barcelona had 620.2m in revenue and Real Madrid, who won an 11th Champions League title in May, dropped to third on 620.1m in Deloitte’s 20th annual rankings.

United’s stay at the top could be short-lived with the pound weakening since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June and their failure to reach the Champions League.

Despite Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as manager, United are struggling to break back into the top four Champions League qualification places let alone win their first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

But United, owned by the Florida-based Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, have maintained an ability to attract sponsors.

“Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world’s leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this,” said Dan Jones of the Deloitte sports division.

“In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.”

The top five is completed by German champions Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

The eight English clubs in the top 20 account for 45 per cent of the accumulated revenue in the standings of 7.4 billion – up 13 per cent from the previous year. Leicester, first-time winners of the Premier League last season, make the cut for the first time, squeezing into 20th place on £128.7m.

West Ham return to the top 20 and should move up from 18th place (£143.8m) following their move last summer to Olympic Stadium.

The other Premier League teams are: Arsenal (seventh at £350.4m), Chelsea (eighth at £334.6m), Liverpool (ninth at £302m) and Tottenham (12th at £209.2m).

The weight of English clubs in the revenue rankings should increase next year with the rise in television revenue. Premier League clubs should each earn at least £100m a season as part of the rights deals worth more than £8.3 billion over three years.

The only French team represented in the rankings is Paris Saint-Germain, who fell two places to sixth with revenue of 520.9m. Zenit Saint-Petersburg are the only Russian team included, improving a place to 17th by generating 196.5m.

Along with Bayern, Germany also provides Borussia Dortmund (11th at 283.9m) and Schalke (14th at 224.5m).

Juventus heads the list of four Italian teams, in 10th place on 224.5m, followed by AS Roma (15th at 218.2m), AC Milan (16th at 214.7m) and Inter Milan (19th at 179.2m).

Deloitte warns that the enhanced English broadcast deals could see at least one of the Milan teams fall out of the top 20 next year.

Joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the rankings from Spain are Atletico Madrid in 13th place at 228.6m.