Every year Deloitte analyses the state of the European football market through the report “Football Money League”. The most recent version, “Football Money League 2011/2012”, reveals that the largest sport in the world is still growing strongly and is - from a financial perspective - leaving other sports far behind.
Alex Byars, consultant at Deloitte’s Sports Business Group: “We estimate that the European football market size, in terms of total revenue, was €16.3 billion (£14.1 billion) in 2010. Compare this to NFL revenues of $8 billion (£5 billion), and one will understand how big football is.” Within this figure, the five big European leagues (England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France) contributed €8.4 billion – with the English Premier League (€2.5 billion) the largest league in revenue terms, well ahead of the German Bundesliga in second place (€1.7 billion).
Spain dominates club revenue
According to Deloitte’s research, Spanish clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona lead European clubs in terms of revenues, €438.6 million and €398.1 respectively. Manchester United follows in third place with revenues of €349.8 million, English clubs also dominate the list. Arsenal (€274.1), Chelsea (€255.9), Liverpool (€225.3), Manchester City (€152.8), Tottenham Hotspur (€146.3) and Aston Villa (€109.4) claim fifth, sixth, eighth, eleventh, twelfth and twentieth spots, in Deloitte’s European revenue table. Deloitte concludes “It is testament to the ability of English clubs to capitalise on all revenue streams that they occupy seven Money League positions, the most of any individual country – including six of the top 12 positions.”
TV rights important for revenue
Top level football has been driven principally by broadcasting revenue. Deloitte’s first Money League in 1996/97 reported that the then leaders Manchester United generated €134 million in revenue, of which €19 million (14%) related to broadcasting. By 2009/10, the club’s total revenue had grown to almost three times this level, at €350 million, but broadcasting revenue, at €128 million, has increased to nearly seven times and comprises 37% of the total.