Barcelona have been the most successful club in Europe and the world during the last few years, but financially they are still behind two other clubs, some would daresay bigger. Real Madrid, the most profitable club in the world during the course of last year, and Manchester United, the most valuable sport team in the world.
The three, along with Bayern Munich and Arsenal, are among the only football clubs in the world to be valued at over $1 Billion.
JSYK – operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)
Number 10 – Schalke 04, $587 Million
Schalke are currently third in the Bundesliga, meaning they’ll return to the Champions League, probably, after a terrible 2010-2011 season. The club generates a revenue of nearly $300 million, enjoying a sponsorship deal with In Front Germany contributes about $130 million. Their average attendance of 61,105 is the third highest in Germany, nearly 100% of the Stadium’s capacity.
Number 9 – Juventus FC, $591 Million
The club still hasn’t fully made it back since the Calciopoli scandal which saw the club relegated in 2006 and stripped of two league titles. Owned by the Agnelli family, Juventus, like all big Italian clubs, has problems generating a profit despite being one of the biggest clubs in the world. A new stadium, the first fully owned by a club in Italy, and maybe their first Serie A title since 2003, may help the team to reach an improved financial state, better then their -$38 million operating income.
Number 8 – Liverpool FC, $619 Million
Now owned by John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool are back on the right financial track, although it seems it will take them some time to become a major force in the Premier League as far as contending for the league title is concerned. The most important thing was erasing the club’s debt, and the club is generating a operating income of $45 million. A new stadium, bigger than the 45,000 historic Anfield, is another change that must be done in sake of the club’s financial future and its competitiveness.
Number 7 – Chelsea FC, $716 Million
Along with Manchester City, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea is the most intriguing case study of how the new FIFA financial fair play rules will affect over-spending clubs. Chelsea are going through some sort of transition, while Abramovich has cut the team’s expenses by more than a tenth compared to previous seasons.
Number 6 – AC Milan, $989 Million
Owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Milan are the most valuable team in Italy and still in the chase for their 19th Serie A title, which will put them one above their city rivals, Inter. Their Operating Income of $29 million is due to some big spending, mostly Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and bigger salaries in recent years. Milan also enjoy the highest attendance numbers in Italy, averaging 51,398 fans a match.
Number 5 – Bayern Munich, $1.235 Billion
The biggest club in Germany and second in attendance (69,000), Bayern are about to experience not winning the title for two consecutive seasons, something that has happened since the mid 1990′s. The team is still in the hunt for the Champions League, currently facing Real Madrid in the Semi Finals. They presented a $90 million operating income last year, despite the drop in TV revenue.
Number 4 – Arsenal FC, $1.292 Billion
Arsenal enjoy an operating income of $98 million, with a total match day revenue of $150 million during 2011, fourth among the top 20 clubs. They are another American owned team, by Sports Mogul Stan Kroenke. The fans are still waiting for Arsene Wenger to deliver (or leave) the club’s first league title since 2004.
Number 3 – FC Barcelona, $1.3 Billion
The most successful European club in recent years, winning five league titles and three Champions League trophies since 2005, Barcelona enjoy the largest broadcasting revenue among all soccer teams, with $266 Million. They also play in the biggest stadium in Europe, the Camp Nou, with a capacity just under 100,000, averaging 82,000 in league matches.
Number 2 – Real Madrid, $1.87 Billion
Real haven’t finished above Barcelona in anything for a while now, although that may be changing this season. The most valuable club in Spain enjoys an operating income of $214 million, the most profitable soccer club in the world during 2011, despite not winning any major titles. They average 74,405 fans during La Liga home matches at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Number 1 – Manchester United, $2.2 Billion
On its way to win a 20th league title, United aren’t just the most valuable soccer club in Europe and the World, they are also the most valuable sport club on the face of this planet, thanks to what Alex Ferguson has been building for 26 years now, about to win his 13th league title in 20 seasons. United enjoy the highest operating income in England and the highest average attendance, with 75,372 fans packing the Old Trafford once every two weeks, the third highest number in Europe.