February 16, 2011
For the sixth consecutive year, Real Madrid tops the Deloitte Football Money League, and in doing so, became the highest-earning sports team ever, reports Business Insider. Despite not winning any trophies, the club's earnings jumped from $541 million for the 2008/09 season to $592 million for the 2009/10 season, enabling it to continue funding Cristiano Ronaldo's most extravagant purchases. Like exclusive yet unenforcable baby rights.
Barcelona came in right behind Real for the second straight year (even though the standings were the other way around in La Liga) and for the first time ever, the combined earnings of Deloitte's 20-club Money League topped $5.4 billion.
By comparison, the top earning NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, made $420 million according to Forbes and the top earning MLB team, the New York Yankees, made $441 million. That would only put them fifth and fourth, respectively, in Deloitte's list of football clubs.
The biggest chunk of Real Madrid's revenue came from its ongoing $1.4 billion TV rights deal, but it also makes nearly as much from numerous sponsorships and matchday earnings. And if there's one thing Real likes more than making money, it's spending it. Over the last decade, it's spent more than $1 billion on player transfers as it keeps breaking its own transfer records for individual players to fill out club president Florentino Perez's live-action fantasy team.
Here's the full Football Money League Top 20...
1. Real Madrid -- $592 million
2. Barcelona -- $537 million
3. Manchester United -- $472 million
4. Bayern Munich -- $436 million
5. Arsenal -- $370 million
6. Chelsea -- $345 million
7. AC Milan -- $318 million
8. Liverpool -- $308 million
9. Inter Milan -- $303 million
10. Juventus -- $277 million
11. Manchester City -- $206 million
12. Tottenham Hotspur -- $198 million
13. Hamburger SV -- $197 million
14. Lyon -- $197 million
15. Marseille -- $190 million
16. Schalke 04 -- $189 million
17. Atletico Madrid -- $168 million
18. Roma -- $166 million
19. Stuttgart -- $155 million
20. Aston Villa -- $148 million
Fun, right? Well, it's not so much when you look at how quickly those earnings disappear. As the Andersred Blog points out, just one of the seven English clubs on Deloitte's list turned a profit (Arsenal). Barcelona had to take out a loan to pay player wages last summer and Real's debt is in the hundreds of millions. So keep that in mind when imagining club executives diving into warehouse-sized safes full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.
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