The 7 Most Valuable Soccer Teams on the Planet

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We’re sure you already know there’s a lot of money in professional sports. We’re also pretty sure that when we bring up pro sports and finances, your minds immediately think go to Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NFL. And that makes sense. These leagues, and the teams within them, make some serious coin. But did you ever stop to think about soccer? If you didn’t, then you really should. Some of these international teams are worth a fortune.

Forbes took the time to break down the financials in the world of soccer, and what it outlined was pretty crazy — the 20 most valuable teams in the world. While examining the data, it wanted to make sure the following was understood:

When looking over the table, keep in mind that revenues and operating income are for the 2013-14 season, converted into U.S. dollars based on average exchange rate for the 2013-14 season. Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt) based on the team’s current stadium deal (unless new stadium is pending) based on April 22, 2015 exchange rates. Operating income is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, player trading and disposal of player registrations.

Not only did Forbes outline each of these clubs’ worth, revenue, and operating income, but it provided detailed information about where these wealthy teams make their money. Twenty is a big number to go over, so we thought it’d be nice to limit the number a bit. With that in mind, here are the 7 most valuable soccer teams on the planet.

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7. Arsenal

  • Team value: $1.31 billion
  • Revenue: $487 million
  • Operating income: $101 million

Teams in the English Premier League benefitted monumentally from the new domestic television deal that was finalized earlier this year. As noted in Forbes, the league is set ro receive an average of $2.7 billion annually for three years, starting with the 2016-2017 season. While Arsenal will reap the rewards from this deal, the team also struck gold with its new kit deal with Puma. With a five-year deal that began in the 2014-2015 season, Arsenal ends up making an average of $51 million a year. We can only imagine how the team’s stock will rise once the Premier League completes its international rights deal.

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6. Chelsea

  • Team value: $1.37 billion
  • Revenue: $526 million
  • Operating income: $83 million

Chelsea is valued at $1.37 billion, which, according to Forbes, is up 58% from last year. We expect this club’s worth to improve now that it won the Premier League this season. However, the organization should be plenty comfortable on account of a 10-year, $450 million kit deal it signed with Adidas two years ago. One other thing Forbes noted is that Chelsea was a member of its “Super Six” group. These are the clubs that rank in the top 10 in four of the most important categories. These include social media following, matchday revenue, broadcasting revenue, and commercial revenue. For Chelsea’s part, the team brings in $115 million from matchday revenue, $227 million from broadcast revenue, and $184 million from commercial revenue. That’s not a bad haul.

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5. Manchester City

  • Team value: $1.38 billion
  • Revenue: $562 million
  • Operating income: $122 million

Manchester City is another member of the Super Six and its total value is $1.38 billion. This club made the biggest jump in worth from the year before, increasing by an impressive 59%. Man City is not only making strides abroad, due to its 80% stake in the MLS’s New York City FC, but it’s also doing extremely well on the home front. The Sky Blues are pulling in $77 million from matchday revenue, $216 million from broadcasting, and $216 million from commercial revenue. Manchester City should also benefit come next season, when its Etihad Stadium increases in seating capacity from 47,700 to 55,000.

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4. Bayern Munich

  • Team value: $2.35 billion
  • Revenue: $661 million
  • Operating income: $78 million

Bayern Munich is not part of Forbes’s Super Six, but that hasn’t stopped the club from being the fourth most valuable soccer team in the world. To start, Bayern Munich has made a substantial amount of money from its Champions League appearances. From 2012-2014, the team has received a payout to the tune of $151 million — the second most of any team on the planet. Bayern made $396 million from its commercial revenue, $146 million from broadcasting, and has benefitted from three straight league titles, as well as a Champions League crown in 2013. Of course, the club’s 10-year kit deal extension with Adidas will be rewarding as well. This new deal will go through 2030, and the team is expected to make approximately $986 million. It certainly pays to be Bayern Munich.

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3. Manchester United

  • Team value: $3.1 billion
  • Revenue: $703 million
  • Operating income: $211 million

If you thought Adidas was forking over the coin to Bayern Munich, just wait until you hear what Manchester United is getting from the apparel giant. In 2014, the two parties struck a 10-year dual global sponsorship and licensing deal that will come into effect starting in the 2015-2″16 season. What’s Man United getting from this partnership? Just a paltry $1.1 billion. In addition to this mega-deal, United made $175 from matchday revenue (tops in the Super Six), $220 million from broadcasting revenue, and $307 million from commercial revenue. This group may not have won the Premier League title this season, but its certainly making up for it in stone-cold cash.

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2. Barcelona

  • Team value: $3.16 billion
  • Revenue: $657 million
  • Operating income: $174 million

Barcelona comes in at No. 2 with a total value of $3.16 billion. The club has made $137 million in Champions League payouts from 2012-2014, it makes $80 million annually from its kit deals with Qatar Airways and Nike, and the club made $190 million in television distribution this year. Barcelona had $158 million in matchday revenue, $247 million in broadcasting revenue, and $252 million in commercial revenue. As long as Barcelona keeps the dynamic duo of Lionel Messi and Neymar, we expect the team to continue to prosper like a powerhouse should.

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1. Real Madrid

  • Team value: $3.26 billion
  • Revenue: $746 million
  • Operating income: $170 million

Cristiano Ronaldo, $746 million in total revenue, and $154 million in Champions League payouts since 2012. We could stop there and it would be enough to explain why Real Madrid is the most valuable soccer club on the planet. However, we’ll keep going. Madrid took home $154 million in matchday revenue, $277 million in broadcasting revenue, and $314 million in commercial revenue. This team is an international giant. Los Blancos dominate on the pitch and in the bank. And we don’t see that stopping anytime in the near future. After all, they don’t call them the “Galacticos” for nothing.

All information and data are provided by Forbes.com.

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