There’s a lot of money to be made in the world of sports. Every year we read about hundreds of millions of dollars in player transfer and purchases, stadium development and league expansions – not to mention all of the money in sports apparel and merchandise sales. Yes, from top to bottom, you could get lost in the figures concerning how much money flows through a team, league or athletic governing body. In more way than one, sports teams are businesses. They focus on a specific sector of the ‘market,’ hire an extensive and expensive staff, offer a service to a consumer, build their reputation and watch their value decrease or increase from year to year.
Over the past years, Forbes has become known for tracking the values of teams in various leagues and competitions around the world. Recently, they released their report on the most valuable soccer teams in the world. This annual report tracks the rise or decline of the biggest soccer clubs in financial terms. Figures are based on a number of variables. A team’s value is calculated by looking at stadium deals, club debts, revenue and operating income – some data used by Forbes come from financial service Deloitte. Further affecting a club’s value are sponsorship deals, including kit sponsors, television and broadcast deals, as well as competition succes, especially in the lucrative UEFA Champions League. It’s not all about having a rich sugar-daddy running the club, although you’ll see that it can’t hurt.
The following list contains 20 of the most valuable clubs in world soccer. These clubs are divided between six countries which are all within the UEFA confederation. This is not to say that the rest of the world doesn’t have valuable teams. It’s just that, currently, UEFA has the monopoly on the top 20 most valuable clubs. While it may not end the debate between fans over whose club is bigger, Forbes has provided some ammunition for fans who can gloat that their club is more valuable.
20 Napoli: $296 Million
19 AS Roma: $307 Million
18 Hamburg SV: $326 Million
17 Atlético de Madrid: $328 Million
16 Galatasaray: $347 Million
15 Paris Saint-Germain: $415 Million
14 Inter Milan: $483 Million
13 Tottenham Hotspur: $514 Million
12 Schalke 04: $580 Million
11 Borussia Dortmund: $600 Million
10 Liverpool: $691 Million
9 Juventus: $850 Million
8 AC Milan: $856 Million
7 Manchester City: $863 Million
6 Chelsea: $868 Million
5 Arsenal: $1.33 Billion
4 Bayern Munich: $1.85 Billion
3 Manchester United: $2.81 Billion
2 Barcelona: $3.2 Billion
1 Real Madrid: $3.44 Billion
Topping off Forbes’ list of most valuable teams this year are the 2013/14 Champions League winners Real Madrid. The club remains at the top from last year and increased its value from $3.3 billion. Thanks to tough economic times in Spain, match attendance has been down slightly in the past few years. This has been compensated for by increases in commercial and broadcast revenue as well as a highly developed world brand. The club’s participation in the Champions League is a big financial boost, made even better by the recent performances. It also helps that the club own their own 81,000 seat stadium and hold a number of lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Adidas, Emirates, Audi and Coca-Cola.
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