Income from commercial operations has become the most important revenue source for the top European football clubs in eight leagues, according to a new report by KPMG’s Football Benchmark team.
The report found that commercial income, primarily from sponsorship, had the highest impact on total turnover for six out of the eight European championship-winning clubs from the 2017-18 season.
Bayern Munich was the most successful at growing its commercial revenue, reaching €316m ($361m) in 2017-18. Of the other clubs under review, commercial revenue surpassed other revenue streams at Barcelona, Galatasaray, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and PSV Eindhoven.
The exceptions were Juventus and Porto, where broadcasting remained the main source of income – although both clubs recorded the highest year-on-year growth in their commercial income (Juventus: +21 per cent, Porto: +43 per cent).
“Football is undergoing an important phase of change from a business point of view,” said Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s global head of sports, and leader of KPMG’s Football Benchmark team.
“Top clubs are moving towards an entertainment company model, transforming football organisations into real global brands, capable of attracting audiences from all over the world.”
Sartori added: “Our analysis highlights the prominence that commercial expansion is gaining: while match-day income is affected by stadium capacity and broadcasting income by multi-year deals, proper management decisions and solid international commercial expansion strategies, supported by adequate sporting performance, can help grow markets around the globe.”
The report found that clubs that represent leagues with limited international appeal and a smaller local broadcasting market rely more on prize money from major Uefa tournaments, particularly the Champions League.
For a comprehensive overview of sponsorship income in Europe’s top five leagues read our European Football Sponsorship Report 2018-19.