Real Madrid and Manchester United lead football's rich list

02 August 2019 4 min. read
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As the domestic season of Europe’s elite leagues quickly approaches kick-off, Manchester United has been bumped from the top of football’s rich list. A new report into the beautiful game’s finances has found that Real Madrid has claimed the title of the club with the highest enterprise value, thanks in part to its historic third Champions League in a row in 2018.

The latest European Football leaderboard for enterprise value (EV) from KPMG has found that Real Madrid has knocked Manchester United from football’s financial peak, after three years at the top for the Red Devils. Prepared by the Big Four firm’s Football Benchmark team on data at the beginning of the year calendar year, the “Football Clubs’ Valuation: The European Elite 2019” report showed that despite being in the midst of enduring a torrid season on the pitch, Los Blancos still reaped the rewards of a successful previous campaign.

Real finished a forgettable third in La Liga, behind city rivals Atletico and missing out on the title by some distance to Barcelona. The holders of the Champions League also crashed out of the tournament early in 2019, having been soundly beaten by a young Ajax side nobody gave a chance in the build-up to their knock-out encounter. Despite this, the enterprise value of the residents of the Bernabéu was buoyed by the historic feat of having won the trophy for a third time at the end of the 2017/18 season.

This helped to see Real Madrid enjoy a 10% gain to an assessed worth of €3.22 billion, while Manchester United dropped in value by 1% to €3.22 billion, a decrease of €48 million from last year’s results. This is in spite of the club’s lucrative return to Champions League football under Jose Mourinho, and finishing second in the English Premier League.

Europe's 10 most valuable football clubs

After a relative period of stability, the latest benchmark from KPMG saw a fair degree of movement at the summit of football’s elite. Including Manchester United and Madrid, nine of the top ten teams changed positions on 2018’s release.

Elsewhere in the top ten, Bayern Munich claimed the 3rd position ahead of Barcelona which slipped to the 4th from last year. English clubs also managed to make gains, with Chelsea and Liverpool enjoying boosts of 26% and 32% respectively, joining the €2 billion-plus club for the first time in 6th and 7th spot behind Manchester City, with the country’s champions holding steady in 5th with its own 14% gain. Following the club’s unprecedented domestic treble, this performance could rise further in next year’s edition, while Liverpool and Chelsea both triumphed in Europe, likely also boosting enterprise value.

Tottenham Hotspur also saw its stock rise on the list, and it is only likely to improve in coming years. Spurs leapfrogged Juventus to 9th place in KPMG’s rankings based on last year’s finances – but with a brand new state of the art stadium finally open for business, and having reached the Champions League final in the 2018/19 season, revenues are likely to boom for 2019 in full.

The Big 5 leagues

Clubs from the ‘Big 5’ European football leagues (The English Premier League, La Liga of Spain, Italy’s Seria A, the German Bundesliga and France Ligue 1) took all but five of the 32 spots, with the Premier League being the most dominant overall, featuring nine clubs on the list which together accounted for 43 percent of the total aggregate value. The remaining spots were taken by Ajax and Benfica of Holland and Portugal, Turkish clubs Beşiktaş and Galatasaray, and Celtic, which entered the list for the first time.

Commenting on the findings, Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s Global Head of Sports, said, “For the third consecutive year, the overall enterprise value of the 32 most prominent European football clubs has increased by 9% (35% over the past three years). This growth rate is in contrast with the overall trend of the major European Stock Exchanges, notably the STOXX Europe 50 Index1, showing a year-on-year decrease of -13%, and demonstrating the different pace at which the football industry is evolving.”