Professional football is, to put it lightly, a serious business. Data shows that the global sports industry will be worth as much as £55 million in 2019, with football by far the most popular and profitable sport of them all.
But which team is worth the most? Thanks to data from Deloitte, we can see exactly which clubs earned the most revenue during the 2016/2017 season, making it easy to rank the world’s most valuable football teams.
Ready to start? Whether you’re interested in ranking teams for total cash available to spend on players (and thus, their potential to win matches and produce rewards with paid or free bets at the bookmakers) or business value, we’ve ranked the 10 most profitable football teams below.
The largest Italian football club earned £255.1 million in 2016, with revenue sources ranging from television contracts, live ticket sales and sponsorship deals with global brands such as Jeep and Adidas.
Liverpool earned £302 million last year, making it the ninth most profitable football club for the third year in a row. Revenue for Liverpool are expected to increase this year, after a new main stand opened at Anfield in September 2016.
Chelsea generated £334.6 million in 2016, making it the eighth most profitable football club in the global rankings. Interestingly, this puts Chelsea further back than usual — the club almost always ranks in the top five in total revenue.
Arsenal ranks number seven in total profitability, earning £350.4 million in 2016. Arsenal usually remains in the top 10 through matchday revenues, with a dedicated audience of fans that attend games in great numbers.
Paris St-Germain almost always ranks in the top five teams for profitability, however the team’s recent earnings have slipped slightly. The club generated £389.6 million in 2016, earning sixth place in the rankings of most profitable football teams.
Usually, Manchester City ranks in the top 10 to 15 football teams by profitability. However, in the last year, the club earned an impressive £392.6 million after a fantastic Champions League run, helping it achieve fifth place in total revenues.
German powerhouse Bayern Munich increased its total revenue by 25% in 2016, making it one of the world’s most valuable teams. The team earned £442.7 million over the course of the year, all while winning its 25th Bundesliga title.
Real Madrid dropped slightly in the rankings for 2016, earning £463.8 million over the course of the year. Once the world’s highest-earning football club, it remains competitive, ending the year in third place in total revenue.
FC Barcelona made its way into second place in total revenue in 2016, generating a total of £463.8 million over the course of the year. Barça also achieved a new Spanish record of 39 matches without a defeat — a streak that finally came to an end in April 2016.
Manchester United almost always ranks near or at the top of most profitable clubs, and 2016 was no exception. The Red Devils earned £515.3 million over the course of the year, putting them at number one in global football club revenue due to lucrative sponsorship deals.