Deloitte Football Money League 2014 – Milan in 10th

The annual Deloitte Football Money League was published today, featuring their oft-publicised top 10 revenue-generating clubs, with this edition covering the 2012/13 season.

The headline result as far as Milan is concerned – they drop two places, from 8th to 10th, compared to last year’s Money League list.

The first thing to note is that the drop isn’t because Milan generated less revenue – Deloitte’s figures actually had the club down as generating €6.6m more compared to last year – but because everyone else has simply improved by a greater margin, in particular PSG, who weren’t even on the list last year, but now find themselves in fifth (see the notes, below).

It is also important to point out that Deloitte adjust their figures to ensure fair and ‘meaningful’ comparisons between clubs. For example, Milan’s accounting period runs through the calendar year, closing in December, whereas most clubs close their accounts in June to run parallel with the football season. Deloitte also remove ‘player transfer fees, VAT and other sales-related taxes’ from the revenue of all clubs to give a better overall idea of wealth.

The result is that these adjustments and omissions produce lower overall revenue for Milan than the one you’ll see in the financial statements section of this website – where the information is simply a translation of the club’s balance sheet – and the one quoted by the club. While Deloitte claim they generated €263.5m, Milan’s most recent statement reports revenue of €329.3m.

That aside, Deloitte must get pretty tired when it comes to writing the yearly report for Milan. They’ve said the same thing for the past five editions, but that’s because the same problems are preventing genuine revenue growth – namely stadium ownership. It’s been covered to death, everyone knows the issue and the solution, so there is no real need to cover it again.

That being said, it’s interesting to see Deloitte report Juventus’ matchday revenue at just €38m – still quite low compared to the rest of the Money League. It compares favourably with Milan’s figure this year, but last year’s report had the Rossoneri’s matchday income down as €33.8m – only €4.2m less than Juventus earned from the same stream in 2012/13. There’s no doubt Juve’s figure will grow over the years, but it demonstrates that owning the stadium won’t solve things overnight.

On the subject of Juventus, they overtook Milan in the 2014 list, with the Bianconeri now sitting in 9th place. This is mainly because of the huge (and slightly anomalous) sum received from the UEFA market pool for their Champions League campaign, one which they won’t get close to next year. Nevertheless, assuming they continue to profit from stadium ownership, and matchday income continues to rise, they’re probably going to be Italy’s leading club in the Money League for a good few years.

The reality is that it is still broadcasting monies contributing the largest sum to Milan’s overall revenue, and keeping them in the top 10 in the Money League. If you were to rank all 20 teams in the Money League based solely on matchday income, Milan would be 18th out of 20 (Inter would be bottom, Roma 19th). Commercially, Milan are still the best team in Italy by some distance, but if you were to organise Deloitte’s list based on this particular revenue stream, they would still be 10th. That 10th place is not entirely the club’s fault – they have actually made incredible strides with this over the last few years, but there are certain aspects outside of Milan’s control that are going to limit commercial growth (see notes, below).

Now apply the same ranking of the list to broadcasting revenue, and Milan jump to fourth. As with Juventus, this year that was aided by the UEFA market pool, but even accounting for what you would consider to be a ‘normal’ amount from the market pool, Milan would probably be no worse than fifth based purely on this revenue stream.

NOTES

  • PSG’s commercial revenue is utterly ridiculous. The €254.7m figure accounts for 64% of their total revenue for 2012/13, and is €17m more than traditional commercial behemoths Bayern earned in the same period. Incredible.
  • Manchester City have also seen a huge commercial growth – up €28.4m from the 2013 Money League. A coincidence that both are owned by wealthy Middle Eastern businessman/entities (the only clubs on the list that this applies to)?
  • Corporate/VIP seats are vital – these are the ones that bring the money in. Deloitte noted that Manchester City are aiming to increase the capacity of their Etihad Stadium by 12,000, with one of the primary motivators being to improve the number of corporate hospitality seats. Barbara Berlusconi, sharp lady that she is, made this point years ago after a visit to the Emirates Stadium for the 2nd leg of Milan’s Champions League tie versus Arsenal, claiming that the Gunners were the model to follow. Incidentally, Arsenal are the only team in this year’s Money League whose matchday income is the largest contributor for their total revenue. I think she was on to something, you know.
  • The ‘product’ of the Premier League is benefitting its clubs when it comes to analyses like Deloitte’s, with six out of the 20 in the list being English clubs. Worldwide appeal of the product = more interested commercial partners/more fans from other countries = more money. Bayern know the reverse of this is going to be a problem for them – I.E. their growth limited somewhat by the appeal of their league – which is why, as Deloitte states, they’re planning to open offices in New York and China to help pedal the Bundesliga worldwide.
  • Serie A clubs are facing the above problem too. Juventus President Andrea Agnelli, another individual within Serie A who can see the bigger picture earlier than most, recognised this in 2012, hence his continued calls for a reform of Italian football. While he’s clearly calling for this to make sure his club can continue to grow during the years where they are a step or two ahead of everyone else in Italy off the pitch, it would undoubtedly benefit everyone in the long run.

Deloitte Football Money League 2014 (top 10)

TEAM REVENUE
Real Madrid €518.9m
Barcelona €482.6m
Bayern Munich €431.2m
Manchester United €423.8m
Paris Saint-Germain €398.8m
Manchester City €316.2m
Chelsea €303.4m
Arsenal €284.3m
Juventus €272.4m
Milan €263.5m
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