A highly competitive sport like soccer requires a lot of financing. The gap between the top 10 richest soccer clubs in the world and the rest has constantly been growing, especially over the past decade. We’ve seen an enormous influx of money, mostly from various sponsors who want to advertise their brand. However, that’s not the only way of generating money. TV rights paid by broadcasting stations all around the globe are all but tiny.
The English FA pays quite a lot of money to clubs finishing in the top spots of the Premier League. Depending on the position, clubs can earn anywhere between $118 million for finishing last up to $200 million for winning the league. The difference being almost double between a last- and first placed club.
Since the FA has been generating even more income through TV rights in the past decade, it’s safe to say that the winning prizes could keep rising in the upcoming years. Of course, the difference may not be as exponential as it has been in the past ten years or so. Still, the constant rise in popularity of European soccer, especially the Premier League, will probably keep soccer at the number 1 spot of being the most popular sports in the world.
Let’s take a look at the current list and go through each club mentioned:
|Ranking||Soccer Club||Income||Total club value|
|1||Real Madrid||$896 million||$4.76 billion|
|2||Barcelona||$815 million||$4.75 billion|
|3||Manchester United||$795 million||$4.2 billion|
|4||Bayern Munich||$751 million||$4.215 billion|
|5||Manchester City||$678 million||$4 billion|
|6||PSG||$646 million||$2.5 billion|
|7||Liverpool||$613 million||$4.1 billion|
|8||Chelsea||$597 million||$3.2 billion|
|9||Arsenal||$520 million||$2.88 billion|
|10||Tottenham||$511 million||$2.3 billion|
*Note that the total club value can vary. The list would probably be a bit different each time if updated monthly.
What’s interesting here is the fact that the total club value of Real Madrid and Barcelona is almost double the total value of Tottenham Hotspur.
The 13-time European Cup and Champions League winner has been not only a club but a world-famous brand ever since the club was founded. Real Madrid has been generating massive income from several different sources. Those sources being either league and European competition placements, sponsorship deals, TV rights, and a huge following worldwide.
It is also important to note some huge record-breaking transfers that Real Madrid has been a part of, especially in the past couple of decades. Even though there are certain scenarios where a wealthy club like Real Madrid would spend tens, if not hundreds of millions of euros in a single transfer window, the players who arrive at the club are usually the ones who keep working on Real Madrid’s renowned brand. Either by increasing the number of total kits sold or by having a huge influence on social media and potentially opening the door to new club sponsors.
Real Madrid’s biggest rival and the second most successful club in Spain, trophy-wise, is well-known even outside of the soccer world, probably because of one man – Lionel Messi. The Argentinian has been an unofficial ambassador for the club for almost two decades now. It would be unfair not to mention many other legends that have played for the club, like Maradona, Ronaldinho, Cruyff, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, and many more, but there probably hasn’t been a single more important focal point in Barcelona’s recent history than Lionel Messi.
Messi has helped Barcelona in several different aspects – even financially to some extent. The club has gained an even more significant following ever since the captain of the Argentinian national team made his debut back in 2004. By winning several domestic- and Champions Titles, Barcelona has managed to seal second place among the 10 richest soccer clubs in the world.
A sleeping giant, as some might refer to them, Manchester United have had a rough decade. A club that was used to winning trophies no longer than ten years ago, has struggled to win the domestic league and the Champions League. Since 2013, United has won only three trophies. Something that makes a huge difference between United and other European clubs that are currently doing better is their history and their brand. There are only a few clubs all around the world that can compare to the Red Devils’ success over the past 30 years or so.
The fourth clubs on this list are the German giants – Bayern Munich. The most successful German club may not have been a part of record-breaking signings like the three previously mentioned clubs, but there is a different transfer market strategy that they excel at. The club that still manages to dominate the domestic league and win the Champions League (two titles in the last eight years) relies on local talent. Bayern Munich works on its brand by mostly focusing on the best young players Germany has to offer – something that negatively affects other German clubs to some extent.
Probably the most dominating in English soccer in the past decade. After Sheikh Mansour’s arrival in the late 2000s, the club’s value has been constantly rising. Citizens have since then won several league titles but are still struggling in the Champions League. An interesting fact regarding the blue part of Manchester is that City was ranked ninth in the world in 2013 with $362 million. In 2011 they were sixteenth with $153 million. Pep Guardiola’s squad has been regarded as one of the most enjoyable soccer teams to watch. We believe that their brand will be even stronger in the upcoming years.
Just like in Real Madrid’s case, PSG is not only a club but also a huge brand. Some would even argue that PSG is more a brand than a soccer club. Ever since the club was acquired by QSI (Qatar Sports Investments) in 2011, PSG has had quite a delicate reputation. Many see PSG as an investment fund that spends a lot of money without achieving any acceptable results. On the other hand, PSG is dominating the domestic league, and even though they haven’t won the Champions League since the acquisition, PSG has been a title-winning favorite for a while now.
A club that, before Manchester United, had a similar status of being “a sleeping giant.” Just over ten years ago, the Reds were struggling to even qualify for the Champions League, a competition they won in 2005 (and in 2019 for the sixth time). After the arrival of Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool has managed to build and maintain a strong side, including players like Mo Salah, Sadio Mané, and Virgil Van Dijk, to name a few. The second most successful club in England trophy-wise is only one trophy away behind Manchester United. But with the strong squad, following, and financing, we believe that Liverpool will most likely overtake the Red Devils.
For a club that is currently in a somewhat turbulent period, the London Blues are still maintaining their composure. The financial situation in the club is quite severe, for the first time in more than 20 years to be exact. After Roman Abramovich left the club, Chelsea still looks for new potential owners. A club that has won 5 Premier League titles and 2 Champions League titles in that period will most likely not struggle to find a new owner. Even though the value of the club is currently lower compared to the year before, we believe that Chelsea will go back on track soon.
A club that sacrificed its success for overall well-being is finally on track to its glory days. They managed to build a new stadium, stabilize their finances and keep a devoted fanbase. But, of course, that left some scars on recent history. Since the 2004 title, when the Gunners didn’t lose a single league game, the club has managed to win the FA Cup five times. As important as it is, the FA cup could not be compared to the value of being a league champion. Arsenal is still the third most successful club in English soccer.
Arsenal’s north London rivals have probably the emptiest trophy cabinet out of all the clubs we’ve mentioned so far, winning their last league title in 1961. On the other hand, the Spurs are still one of the most popular soccer clubs not only in England but also in the States. Stars like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are keeping the club in the center of attention. Strong sponsorship deals and TV rights make Spurs rightfully the tenth richest soccer club in the world.
Managing a world-class soccer club is not easy. Various factors affect the club financially, and the only way to keep the club afloat is to focus on each one of them. Soccer clubs that manage to do so deserve to be in the elite group of the 10 richest soccer clubs in the world. However, there are still two schools of thought as to which clubs deserve to be here and which ones do not. The first one is that some clubs on this list are “plastic” and are mostly getting their revenue through wealthy investors. The second one is being more objective and looking at soccer clubs as businesses.