In this article, we will take a look at the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. You can skip our comprehensive analysis of the football industry during the pandemic and go directly to the 5 Biggest Soccer Clubs in the World.
The pandemic has led to a series of unprecedented events that caused economic and social disruptions worldwide, including the professional football industry. Among the European governments that imposed strict lockdowns and social distancing protocols in the first quarter of 2020 were countries representing the leagues in the “Big Five,” such as Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. In March 2020, the U.K. announced its first lockdown and halted all non-essential activities, including sports events and travels. Simultaneously, the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament, which was set to take place in June and July 2020, was postponed. According to Deloitte’s Football Money League, Europe’s top football clubs are forecast to lose over $2.43 billion in revenue by the end of the 2020-21 season due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the return of live football, several games were televised without fans in attendance, resulting in the odd sight of vacant seats and a lack of crowd atmosphere. Yet, the pandemic gave television sports networks a platform to build a concrete following of audiences globally. The European club competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and the National Women’s Soccer League, will be shown on Paramount Plus until this year. ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC) disclosed in January 2021 that the subscription service CBS All Access would rebrand as Paramount Plus on March 4, 2021. Fox Corporation’s (NASDAQ: FOX) Fox Sports is the broadcast partner of the UEFA Champion League in the Caribbean. In most parts of Europe, Comcast Corporation’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) international Sky Group will be airing the Champion League.
Closed-door matches changed the way soccer clubs interact with their supporters and commercial partners in a big way. Although this might not have immediate revenue-generating benefits, the combination of match day attendance and digital participation may be convincing once normalcy returns.
The top 20 clubs in this year’s Money League generated $9.6 billion in revenue, an average of $491 million per club, a decrease of 12% from last year’s top 20, which generated $11.2 billion in revenue. The cumulative decline in revenue was predominantly a result of the decrease in broadcast revenue of $1.1 billion. Matchday sales dropped $309 million primarily due to the increased number of postponed games. Commercial revenue grew by $98.8 million, re-establishing commercial revenue as the most important contributor to the world’s biggest soccer clubs’ revenue after a three-year hiatus.
The European Super League
Some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world are leaving the UEFA Champions League to form the European Super League, which will compete directly with the sport’s most prestigious international competition outside of the World Cup. The UEFA had threatened to remove the 12 founding Super League teams from competing in UEFA competitions if they will participate in the first season of the European Super League, which hopes to begin to play in 2022. However, regardless of the impact on smaller clubs or the rest of Europe, the world’s wealthiest soccer clubs are not stopping their plans to increase their share of the pie.
The European Super League includes Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, A.C. Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.
The Biggest Soccer Clubs in the World
To give you the most accurate insights about the biggest soccer clubs in the world, we sorted our rankings based on the revenue of each soccer club. We have taken the soccer clubs’ income from the 24th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League.
Now let’s see the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world.
30. AC Milan
Revenue in 2020: $178.6 million
We start our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world with AC Milan. Since its formation in 1899, Associazione Calcio Milan has always been Italy’s top tier. AC Milan is ranked 30th after being barred from competing in the UEFA Europa League for the 2019-20 season due to financial fair play violations. AC Milan is among the Super League founding members.
29. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Revenue in 2020: $181.8 million
Wolverhampton Wanderers is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world based in West Midlands, England. The professional football club, also known as Wolves, was founded in 1877. Wolves is one of 14 Premier League clubs formulating strategies to derail the European Super League.
28. Sheffield United
Revenue in 2020: $182.8 million
Sheffield United ranks 28th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The professional football club was founded in 1889 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Sheffield United ranks 20th in the 2020-21 season of the Premier League.
Revenue in 2020: $187 million
Ajax ranks 27th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world with a market value of $413 million as per Forbes. AFC Ajax is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ajax was founded in 1900 and has since evolved to be one of Europe’s most prestigious clubs.
26. West Ham United
Revenue in 2020: $190 million
West Ham United is an English professional football club based in Stratford, East London. David Sullivan and David Gold own the football club with a market value of $616 million. West Ham United ranks 5th on the Premier League Standings 2020-21. West Ham United is placed 26th on our list of 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world.
25. Crystal Palace
Revenue in 2020: $194 million
Crystal Palace is an English professional football team based in Selhurst, South London, England. Crystal Palace is currently competing in the Premier League and ranks 13th out of 20 competing soccer clubs in season 2020-21. Crystal’s Palace’s next match is on April 26, 2021, with Leicester City at King Power Stadium. Crystal Palace ranks 25th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world.
24. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Revenue in 2020: $201.9 million
Borussia Mönchengladbach is a German professional football club based in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Mönchengladbach ranks 7th in Bundesliga season 2020-21. Sportswear giant PUMA SE set up a long-term commercial partnership with Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2017, providing the German football team’s footwear and jersey.
Revenue in 2020: $204.8 million
Ranking 23rd on the list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world is a Portuguese women’s football club, Benfica. The professional football club was founded in February 1904 as Sport Lisboa. Benfica currently plays in Primeira Liga season 2020-21 and lands the 3rd spot with 57 points.
22. Leicester City
Revenue in 2020: $205.7 million
Ranking 22nd in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world is Leicester City. The professional football club was founded in 1884 and is based in East Midlands, England. Leicester City is currently valued at $455 million and managed by Thai businessman Khun Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha. Leicester City plays presently in Premier League season 2020-21 and ranks 3rd in overall standings. Among Leicester’s sponsors, this season is Thailand’s leading travel retail company King Power, German sportswear giant Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY), and energy drink manufacturer Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ: MNST).
Revenue in 2020: $206.9 million
Valencia CF is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. The Spanish professional football club currently plays in La Liga season 2020-21 and ranks 14th on the overall standings. Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim owns Valencia. Among Valencia’s official partners are sportswear firm PUMA SE and American beverage maker The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO).
20. Eintracht Frankfurt
Revenue in 2020: $209 million
German professional football team Eintracht Frankfurt ranks 20th on the list of 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The team is currently playing in Bundesliga 2020-21 and holds the 4th position in the overall standings. American Athletic wear producer NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is Eintracht Frankfurt’s equipment supplier.
19. SSC Napoli
Revenue in 2020: $212 million
Italian professional football club Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. SSC Napoli was founded in 1926 in Naples, Italy. Napoli ranks 5th in the Serie A season 2020-21. American food and beverage manufacturer PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) is one of the institutional sponsors of SSC Napoli. Napoli has received numerous national and international awards throughout its eighty-year history, including two Scudetti (Serie A), five Italian Cups, two Italian Super Cups, and one UEFA Cup.
18. Olympique Lyonnais
Revenue in 2020: $217.3 million
French professional football team Olympique Lyonnais ranks 18th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. Among the soccer clubs, premium partners are Adidas A.G. (OTC: ADDYY) and luxury airline Emirates. Olympique Lyonnais ranks 4th in Ligue 1 season 2020-21. French business tycoon Jean-Michel Aulas owns the Olympique Lyonnais team.
17. Everton FC
Revenue in 2020: $254.9 million
Everton FC ranks 17th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The soccer club based in Liverpool, England, has a market value of $658 million and is owned by Farhad Moshiri. Everton FC currently plays in Premier League season 2020-21, ranking 8th in the overall standing. Everton’s commercial revenue increased 104% to $104.4 million in 2020, owing to a $36.1 million naming rights contract with USM for the club’s planned new stadium.
16. F.C. Schalke 04
Revenue in 2020: $267.9 million
German top-flight football club F.C. Schalke 04 ranks 16th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. In 1904, the football club was founded under the name Westfalia Schalke. Schalke plays in the Bundesliga 2020-21 and currently ranks 18th in the league. Among F.C. Schalke’s main sponsors and premium partners are Russian energy company Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom (OTC: OGZPY) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO).
15. F.C. Zenit Saint Petersburg
Revenue in 2020: $284.4 million
Ranking 15th on the list of the biggest soccer clubs in the world is Gazprom’s (OTC: OGZPY) football team F.C. Zenit Saint Petersburg. The Russian professional football team was founded in 1925 in the city of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The official F.C. Zenit Saint Petersburg sponsors in 2020-21 are NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (OTC: NSANY), and The Procter & Gamble Company’s (NYSE: PG) Gillette brand.
With a good partnership with Gazprom and better on-field performance, commercial sales of Zenit increased by 14% to $211 million in 2020.
14. Inter Milan
Revenue in 2020: $350.4 million
Ranking 14th on the list of the biggest soccer clubs in the world is Italian professional football team Inter Milan. The soccer club has a market value of $743 million. Hong Kong-based LionRock Capital and Suning Group’s founder Zhang Jindong own the Italian football team. Inter Milan tops the Serie A 2020-21 standings. The team’s official home kit partner in the 2020-21 season is New York-based athletic wear manufacturer NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE).
Inter Milan, one of the European Super League’s founding teams, will receive their share of the $4.2 billion to fund their infrastructure investment projects and mitigate the COVID pandemic’s effects.
13. Atlético Madrid
Revenue in 2020: $398.9 million
Spanish professional football club Atlético Madrid ranks 13th on the list of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. Atlético Madrid has a market value of $1 billion and is owned by Spanish billionaire Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and cinematographic producer Enrique Cerezo. The football team ranks 1st in La Liga 2020-21. Among the soccer club’s partners for the 2020-21 season are NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Hyundai Motor Company (OTC: HYMTF), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO).
During the last 15 years, Atletico has qualified for the Champions League and has reached the final twice yet has been defeated by Real Madrid. The soccer club is among the founding members of the Super League.
12. Borussia Dortmund
Revenue in 2020: $439.6 million
Borussia Dortmund is ranked 12th on the list of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. The German professional football club was founded in December 1909. Dortmund has a market value of $1.9 billion and is operated by shareholders Bernd Geske and Evonik Industries AG (OTC: EVKIF). Borussia Dortmund ranks 5th in season 2020-21 of Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund has slammed the Super League’s plan and confirmed that they would not participate as the German soccer club opted to proceed with the Champions League.
11. Arsenal F.C.
Revenue in 2020: $466.5 million
English professional football club Arsenal F.C. ranks 11th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The football club has a market value of $2.8 billion and is owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke. Arsenal is ranked 9th in the Premier League 2020-21. Among Arsenal’s commercial partners and sponsors is American glass jar company Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL), sportswear giant Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY), and The Emirates Group.
Arsenal F.C. Arsenal has been a consistent performer in the Champions League. Still, the team recently exited the European Clubs Association after announcing it will join the European Super League.
10. Juventus F.C.
Revenue in 2020: $478.4 million
Juventus F.C. ranks 10th on the list of 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The football club based in Turin, Piedmont, Italy, has a market value of $1.95 billion and is owned by the Agnelli family. Juventus F.C. currently plays in 2020-21 Serie A and ranks 4th in the overall standing. Juventus have been one of the major teams in Europe’s biggest rivalry, despite struggling to win in Serie A. Juventus’ partners in season 2020-21 include Jeep, a luxury car brand under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, sportswear distributor Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY), and insurance company Allianz S.E.
Juventus F.C. is among the founding clubs of the European Super League. On top of that, Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the football team, has resigned as president of the European Club Association and will walk away from the UEFA Executive Committee.
9. Tottenham Hotspur
Revenue in 2020: $535.8 million
Tottenham Hotspur is an English professional football club based in London, England. Tottenham is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world, with a market value of $2.3 billion. The English football team has played in Europe regularly for the past 15 years and came ridiculously close to winning the Champions League in 2019, but was still defeated 2-0 by Liverpool in the final. Tottenham Hotspur ranks 7th in the Premier League in season 2020-21. Tottenham is one of the 12 founding clubs of the European Super League.
8. Chelsea F.C.
Revenue in 2020: $564.7 million
Chelsea ranks 8th on the list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The English professional football club based in London, England, has a market value of $3.2 billion. Chelsea has been a near-permanent player in the Champions League since Roman Abramovich acquired the club in 2003. Chelsea became the first London team to win the Champions League when they defeated Bayern Munich in 2011-12. Chelsea F.C. ranks 5th in the Premier League season 2020-21.
The Blues’ technical kit partner since July 2018 is NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE). Wisconsin-based fintech company Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is one of the official commercial partners of the football club.
7. Paris Saint-Germain F.C.
Revenue in 2020: $650 million
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. ranks 7th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The French professional soccer club has a market value of $2.5 billion. Les Parisiens is playing in Ligue 1 season 2020-21 and ranks 2nd in overall standings. PSG’s principal sponsors are NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and French hotel operator Accor SA (OTC: ACCYY).
6. Manchester City F.C.
Revenue in 2020: $660.2 million
Manchester City ranks 9th in our list of the 30 biggest soccer clubs in the world. The English football club is currently leading the Premier League season 2020-21. Manchester City F.C. has a market value of $4 billion. Manchester City’s best performance to date was a semi-final position in the 2015-16 season when they were defeated by eventual champions Real Madrid.
Man City is one of the 12 founding clubs of the European Super League. Among the English soccer club’s global partners are sportswear PUMA SE, major tech companies SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), Cisco System, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC).
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Disclosure: None. 30 Biggest Soccer Companies in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.