Europe’s 710 top-tier football clubs pulled in a record 20.11 billion euros ($22.89 billion) in revenues between them in the 2017 financial year although almost half of that amount went to 30 of them, according to an annual UEFA report. The Club Licensing Benchmarking report also revealed that gambling and betting firms are the most common source of shirt sponsorship in 10 European leagues and that Paris St Germain is the most expensive place to watch football in Europe.
The report showed that total revenues increased by more than 1.6 billion euros in 2017 although wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few. The top 30 clubs’ combined revenues increased by 7 percent to reach 9.7 billion euros, 49 percent of the total, the report said.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in his introduction that recent issues of the report had brought competitive balance into the spotlight “illustrating how financial gaps are augmented by globalisation and technological change.” “It is more essential than ever that stakeholders work together to keep football strong up and down the pyramid,” he said.
Manchester United were the highest earners with 676 million euros although that was down 13 million euros from 2016 and left them only one million ahead of Real Madrid. Real were followed by Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Juventus, who all had revenues above 400 million euros.
England’s 20 Premier League clubs snapped up more than one quarter of the total revenue, totalling 5.3 billion euros. This put them comfortably ahead of La Liga (2.9 billion euros), the German Bundesliga (2.8 billion euros), Serie A (2.2 billion euros) and Ligue 1 (1.6 billion euros).
Sports betting and gambling companies sponsor shirts in 26 out of the 54 domestic leagues. “In ten of those leagues… they are the most common type of shirt sponsor,” said the report. The highest concentration was in Bulgaria (10 out of 14 teams) and England (nine out of 20), the report said.
Paris St Germain displaced Arsenal as the club to make the most money out of their supporters with an average “yield” of 86.9 euros per spectator. They were closely followed by Chelsea (86.7 euros), Arsenal (85.1 euros), Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur.
Borussia Dortmund had the highest average home attendance at 79,496 followed by Bayern Munich (75,000) and Manchester United (74,976). Manchester United had the highest aggregate attendance at 1.42 million, thanks to the Premier League having 20 teams compared to the Bundesliga’s 18, followed by Borussia Dortmund (1.35 million) and Tottenham Hotspur (1.29 million).
Germany’s Bundesliga had the highest average league attendance (44,511), ahead of England (38,310), Spain (27,068), Italy (24,706) and France (22,548).