Being among the most valuable soccer clubs in the world doesn’t necessarily means you don’t have financial problems or that you’re currently succeeding, but the five Premier League teams (Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United), two La Liga teams (Barcelona, Real Madrid), two Series A teams (Juventus, AC Milan) and one Bundesliga team (Bayern Munich) don’t have much to complain about.
According to Forbes, the only one in the top 10 to not turn in a positive operating income last year were Manchester City, who haven’t changed their ways since changing the face of the top 4 in English football, and continue to spend solely based on their owner’s financial ability instead of the club’s own revenue stream, which seems to be where European football is heading.
10 – Liverpool FC, $651 Million
Things are slowly starting to turn around for Liverpool on the financial side, posting $296 million of revenue in the previous season, with an operating income of $19 million, enjoying a six-year deal with Warrior Sports for $39 million a season. They’re also about to finally begin the expansion of Anfield, turning it into a 60,000 seater, growing by 33% from the current capacity.
9 – Manchester City, $689 Million
Manchester City finished second in the Premier League in 2013 and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down their spending, despite not quite matching that rise with their ability to earn an income. Their revenue in 2011-2012 was $362 million thanks to the title, but their operating income stood at -$53 million.
8 – Juventus FC, $694 Million
The road to European dominance doesn’t just go through winning Series A titles (two in a row now), but building the right kind of financial foundation that will allow Juventus to compete once again with the biggest and richest clubs in Europe. They enjoyed a revenue of $248 million in 2011-2012, and an operating income of $20 million, which should grow once the reports of last season come out.
7 – Chelsea FC, $901 Million
Chelsea didn’t win the title and their Champions league campaign was a huge disappointment, but for the second straight season they ended up winning a European trophy and finishing in the top 4, helping the team further their attempts to become less and less dependent on the owner’s money. They had a revenue of $409 million in 2011-2012, enjoying an operating income of $82 million, mostly thanks to winning the Champions League.
6 – AC Milan, $945 Million
Except for the signing of Mario Balotelli, 2012-2013 was about getting rid of anyone who is expensive and old at AC Milan, which still managed to reach the Champions League knockout stage and finish third in Italy, promising another season of UCL football. They had a revenue of $326 million in 2011-2012 with an operating income of $19 million, but are concerned about their declining attendance numbers, falling beneath 50,000 in a stadium fit for 80,000.
5- Bayern Munich, $1.31 Billion
The European champions are threatening to become the next big European empire thanks to a huge gap in financial ability between them and the rest of the Bundesliga, while finally being able to capture the Champions League after losing in two finals in the previous three season. They had a revenue of $468 million in 2011-2012 and an operating income of $88 million.
4 – Arsenal FC, $1.33 Million
Years of underachieving come in quite sharp contrast to the profitability of Arsenal, who seem to be more worried about the money coming in from the 60,000 that pack the Emirates stadium than using that money to sign better players. Their operating income in 2011-2012 was $55 million, with a revenue of $368 million.
3 – FC Barcelona, $2.6 Billion
Barcelona won their fourth league title in five seasons while reaching the Champions League semifinal for the sixth time in a row. Having one of the two most popular players in the world starring for them (Lionel Messi) doesn’t hurt one bit. They had a revenue of $613 million in 2011-2012, with an operating income of $160 million, including the $38 million a year they receive from the Qatar foundation as jersey sponsorship.
2 – Manchester United, $3.17 Billion
Another league title for Manchester United under Alex Ferguson turned out to be the last under the Scottish manager, stepping down after 27 seasons. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects the team both on the pitch and in their marketability, generating a revenue of $502 million with an operating income of $144 million in 2011-2012.
1 – Real Madrid, $3.3 Billion
Real Madrid didn’t win anything in 2012-2013 and parted ways with head coach Jose Mourinho after three seasons, but they’re still an All-Star team with some of the biggest names in the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also not cemented in stone over there according to certain rumors. They enjoyed a revenue of $650 million and an operating income of $170 million.