The European economy may be experiencing a downturn, but the continent’s wealthiest football clubs have once again bucked the trend according to financial adviser Deloitte.
The Football Money League shows that the combined revenue of Europe’s top soccer clubs was €4.4 billion ($5.8 billion) for the 2010-11 season, a 3% rise on the previous year.
Spanish giants Real Madrid have been named Europe’s highest-earning club for the seventh year in a row. The nine-time European champions’ revenue of €479.5 million ($635 million) is an increase on €438.6 million for 2009-10.
Real’s archrivals and reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona were second on the 20-club list with a revenue of €450.7 million ($597 million).
The Madrid giants are closing in on Manchester United’s record of topping the list for eight consecutive years. The top six clubs in the money league have remained the same for the fourth year in a row.
“Continued growth of the top 20 clubs during 2010-11 emphasizes the strength of football’s top clubs, especially in these tough economic times,” Deloitte partner Dan Jones said.
“Whilst revenue growth has slowed from 8% in 2009-10 to 3% in 2010-11, their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive strong broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners has made them relatively resilient to the economic downturn.”
England boasted the most teams in the list with a total of six. Premier League champions United were third on the list, having generated €367 million ($486 million), up from €349.8 million.
The London duo of Arsenal and Chelsea were fifth and sixth on the list respectively. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal boasted a revenue of €251.1 million ($332 million), down on last year’s figure of €274.1 million.
Chelsea, backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, saw revenue fall from €255.9 million in 2009-10 to €249.8 million ($330 million).
The other English clubs on the list were ninth-placed Liverpool (€203.3 million), Tottenham Hotspur in 11th with €181 million and big-spending Premier League leaders Manchester City in 12th on €169.9 million.
Four-time European champions Bayern Munich were the leading German club on the list in fourth place having generated €321.4 million ($425 million) — a small decrease on the previous period.
Tenth-placed Schalke, Borussia Dortmund in 16th and Hamburg, 18th, were Germany’s other representatives.
Five Italian clubs made the top 20 with city rivals AC Milan (€235.1 million) and Inter (€211.4 million) seventh and eighth respectively as both suffered reductions in revenues.
Serie A leaders Juventus were 10th with Roma rising three places to 15th and Napoli up to 20th after qualifying for the European Champions League.
France had two clubs on the list, with 14th-placed Marseille (€150.4 million) and Lyon (€132.8 million) in 17th position.