London: Real Madrid has remained football’s biggest moneymaker for the eighth straight year as many of Europe’s leading football clubs shrugged off the economic hardship engulfing the continent and boosted their revenue.
The Spanish champions became the first sports team anywhere to break the €500 million (Dh2.4 billion) revenue barrier as they stayed ahead of Spanish rival Barcelona in the Football Money League compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte.
Both teams saw their income rise by seven per cent during the 2011-12 season with Madrid taking in €512.6 million and Barcelona €483 million.
While the top six teams remained unchanged, only third-place Manchester United revenue’s dropped, with a fall of three per cent to £320.3 million pounds (Dh1.86 billion) after exiting last season’s Champions League at the group stage led to a reduction in television income.
United is followed by Bayern Munich on €368.4 million, European champion Chelsea on £261 million and Arsenal on £234.9 million.
“There is minimal economic growth in Europe yet football clubs are growing an average of 10 per cent,” said Dan Jones, lead partner of the sports division at Deloitte.
“An unchanged top six emphasises the fact that these clubs have some of the largest fan bases and hence strongest revenues, in both domestic and international markets,” Jones added.
Manchester City leapt five places to seventh with revenue of £231.1 million in the season that the heavy investment by the Abu Dhabi ownership delivered a first English title in 44 years. The growth is largely due to a new sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways, while the club benefited from playing in the Champions League for the first time.
But City trails United by five points in the title race and exited the Champions League in the group stage for the second successive season.
The top 20 clubs in the Deloitte list generated a combined £4.8 billion in 2011/12, a 10 per cent lift from the 2010-11 season’s top 20.
The only new entry is 20th-place Newcastle, which took Valencia’s place to return to the list after a three-year absence by generating £93.3 million in revenue after it unexpectedly finished fifth in the league.