Europe’s top clubs defy gloomy economic environment

Europe’s top clubs defy gloomy economic environment

LONDON - Reuters
Europe’s top clubs defy gloomy economic environment

Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Barça’s Lionel Messi react during a game. REUTERS photo

Revenue at Europe’s 20 leading clubs has increased again despite the economic crisis shaking many countries across the continent, business advisory firm Deloitte said in a report published yesterday.

Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona maintain the top two slots in Deloitte’s Football Money League, followed by Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea, the report said, based on revenue for the 2010-11 season.

“Continued growth of the top 20 clubs during 2010/11 emphasizes the strength of football’s top clubs, especially in these tough economic times,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“Whilst revenue growth has slowed from 8 percent in 2009/10 to 3 percent in 2010/11, their large supporter bases, ability to drive strong broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners has made them relatively resilient to the economic downturn,” he added.

The top 20 generated 4.4 billion euros ($5.83 billion) in revenue, more than a quarter of the total for European football as a whole.

Spain has been one of the European economies hardest hit by the euro crisis but Real and Barça are global brands that can be marketed to international viewers and sponsors.

“In much the same way as the Premier League is for England, they are very successful exports for the Spanish economy,” Jones told Reuters. “The challenge for Spain is that these two are so far ahead of the rest.”

Valencia, in 19th spot, was the only other club to make the top 20. The gulf between the rich and poor is wider in Spain than other countries because clubs sell TV rights individually rather than collectively.
The top 20 are drawn from the big five European leagues. Six are from England, five from Italy, four from Germany, three from Spain and two from France.

The value of the Champions League was underlined as Schalke 04 jumped six places for the first time on the back of reaching the last four of the premier club competition.