Manchester United enjoyed the biggest revenue of any European football club in the last financial year after a 32% increase propelled them above Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to Uefa’s annual report
of European football governing body Uefa shows
The European Club Football Landscape report said revenues among Europe’s 700-odd top-flight clubs totalled €18.5bn for 2016, compared to €16.9bn the year before and €2.8bn in 1996.
The report acknowledges that nearly half that amount — €9.1bn — was generated by 30 clubs and that the financial gap between the elite and the rest was increasing.
English Premier League television revenues were now such that mid-table Bournemouth earned the same as three-time European champions Inter Milan.
Manchester United’s revenue for 2016 was €689m, compared to €521m in 2015, states the report.
It was followed by Barcelona and Real Madrid, both €620m; Bayern Munich at €592m; Paris St Germain (PSG) at €542m; and Manchester City at €533m.
Manchester United’s operating profit, of €232m, was also the highest followed by Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, and Manchester City.
United was also burdened with the highest net debt of €561m, ahead of Benfica, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Liverpool.
The report confirmed that the English Premier League enjoys, by far, the highest revenues in Europe, averaging €244.4m per club.
Next was Germany’s Bundesliga with €149.6m per club, followed by Spain at €126.3m and Italy at €100.2m.
Revenues fell dramatically elsewhere, even in traditional football nations such as the Netherlands and Portugal. Greek clubs earned an average of €8.9m while figures for Eastern Europe were even lower at €5m for Hungary, €4.4m for Czech Republic, and €1.5m for Slovenia.
“Once more, we cannot help but note that the polarisation of commercial and sponsorship revenues between the top tier of clubs and the rest is accelerating,” said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.
“As the guardians of the game, Uefa must ensure that football remains competitive even as financial gaps are augmented by globalisation and technological change.”
Uefa analyst Sefton Perry said that “only a limited number of clubs are able to fully exploit the enormous commercial opportunities offered by the global market”.
Sixteen of the top 20 clubs — in terms of domestic broadcast revenues — were English with Manchester United top on €146m, edging out Real Madrid and Barcelona.