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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Real Madrid, Barcelona top soccer's rich list

London: Real Madrid and Barcelona are soccer's biggest moneymakers for the third straight year and look set to top their rivals for the foreseeable future.

The annual review of soccer finance by Deloitte shows Madrid topping the list for the seventh straight year with revenue of $636.5 million for the year ending June 30, an increase of 9 percent from the previous 12 months.

English champions Manchester United were again third with $487.2 million, the highest of four English clubs in the top 10. Bayern Munich were fourth at $426.6 million, with Arsenal, Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Schalke next.

One more year at the top for Madrid would equal United's No. 1 streak from 1997-2004 but the accountancy firm says on-field success could yet push Barcelona into first place next year.

Barcelona trail Madrid by seven points in the Spanish league but their revenue increased 13 percent to $599 million and it could rise further if the team retains the Champions League title.

Defending Spanish and European champions Barcelona receive about $40 million per season in a sponsorship deal from the Qatar Foundation and earned $68 million from the Champions League, beating United 3-1 in last season's final at Wembley Stadium.

They can already count on $4.65 million toward next year's total after winning FIFA's Club World Cup in December.

"This may allow them to narrow, or even bridge, the gap to Real," Deloitte sports business group partner Dan Jones said. "However, relative on-pitch performance, particularly in the Champions League, may determine next year's top two Money League placings."

United are certain to trail again next season after their early elimination from this season's Champions League, only the second time they have failed to progress from the group stage in 16 seasons.

Madrid and Barcelona have both advanced to the last-16 and have such earning power that even a move to collective bargaining for broadcast revenue - the model long employed by England's Premier League - is unlikely to affect their financial dominance.

Madrid earned 36 percent of their revenue from commercial activities such as merchandising and sponsorship, 26 percent from matchday income, including ticket sales, and 38 percent from broadcast agreements.

The top 20 clubs in the Deloitte list generated a combined $5.8 billion over the 2010-11 season, about 3 percent up on the previous year's $5.6 billion.

Tottenham rose above Manchester City to 11th place following their run to the quarter-finals in their debut Champions League campaign, but City could leapfrog their English rivals next year after six matches in this season's group stage.

Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Napoli were newcomers in the top 20, replacing Atletico Madrid, Stuttgart and Aston Villa after a season of greater domestic success.

French champions Lille was the only winner of one of Europe's five major leagues - Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France - not to make it into a top 20 entirely composed of European sides.

Deloitte said that Brazilian clubs Corinthians and Sao Paulo, with reported revenues of between $93 million and $106 million, would only make a top 50 list.


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