It’s been a stellar season for Real Madrid after winning La Liga and the Champions League, but the Spanish club suffered a rare defeat Tuesday — off the pitch. Manchester United is now officially the world’s most valuable football club, usurping Real at the top of the Forbes annual rich list for the first time in five years.
Jose Mourinho’s men might have recorded a lowly sixth place finish in the Premier League, but the club is valued at $3.69 billion, up 11% on last year. United generated record revenues of $765 million — over $75 million more than Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid aided by an unprecedented domestic television deal, global commercial reach and an Adidas kit sponsorship arrangement worth a reported $90 million per year.
World football rich list
1) Manchester United – $3.69 billion
2) Barcelona – $3.64 billion
3) Real Madrid – $3.58 billion
4) Bayern Munich – $2.71 billion
5) Manchester City – $2.08 billion
6) Arsenal – $1.93 billion
7) Chelsea – $1.85 billion
8 ) Liverpool – $1.49 billion
9) Juventus – $1.26 billion
10) Tottenham Hotspur $1.06 billion
The club, owned by the American Glazer family, is also substantially the most profitable, posting operating income of $288 million more than fellow English clubs Arsenal ($122 million), Chelsea ($52 million, Liverpool ($29 million) and Tottenham Hotspur ($68 million) combined. “Manchester United’s return to the top spot is testament to their powerful brand and marketing acumen,” commented Mike Ozanian, assistant managing editor at Forbes Media. The Red Devils gained automatic entry to the 2017/18 Champions League courtesy of their Europa League win.