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Old 16th February 2006, 09:39   #1
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Default United still cashing in, says expert

United still cashing in, says expert
16/02/2006 - 8:07:48 AM

Manchester United should not be written off as a commercial force despite being toppled by Real Madrid from their position as the richest club in the world, according to sports finance experts.

The Deloitte ‘rich list’ shows that in terms of revenue, Real have soared into the lead, earning £186.2m (€272.4m), almost £20m (€29.3m) more than United, in 2004-05.

By comparison United, who had topped the rich list for the previous eight years, saw their earnings drop from £171.5m (€251m) to £166.4m (€243.4m) after a couple of relatively poor seasons on the field.

However, Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: “It would be foolish to write their obituary. United may have slipped off the top but it’s worth remembering that they are still the most profitable club in the world.

“They will have an extra 7,500 seats in their ground from next season which will bring in more money and if they can improve on the pitch they should have good revenue growth for the next two or three years.”

United are followed by AC Milan (£158m) and Juventus (£154.9m) in the list, who have both benefited from huge recent broadcasting deals, while Chelsea (£149.1m) have slipped a place to fifth.
Arsenal (£115.7m - €231m) have dropped from sixth to 10th place after failing to match their unbeaten season of 2003-04, while Liverpool’s Champions League success saw the Reds rise from 10th to eighth, earning £122.4m (€179m).

Jones believes Arsenal and Chelsea will both be in a position to challenge for a top-three spot, along with AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona.

He added: “The key to Arsenal’s fortunes is moving to the new stadium next season and that will make a huge amount of difference. It should transform their revenue stream.

“Chelsea play by a different set of rules due to their funding, but it’s a free market and the issue is whether it’s sustainable in the long term, which is why they are working so hard on the aspiration to break even on their day-to-day operations.”

Jones said David Beckham’s presence at Real Madrid alongside other star names had helped despite the club failing to win silverware.

He said: “It’s startling how successful Madrid, and to some extent Barcelona, have been in growing revenue and over the last two years it has been about commercial growth and merchandising rather than matchday and broadcasting revenue.

“Beckham has been a major factor in that. You can’t put a figure on his impact but there is no doubt having big-name players makes an impact and he’s the most famous footballer in the world.”

The list is entirely made up of European clubs, with English clubs occupying eight of the positions, Italian clubs five, three clubs from Spain, two from Germany, Celtic (£62.6m - €91.6m) from Scotland in 16th place and Lyon from France in 15th.

Newcastle (£87.1m - €127.4m) are 12th in the list, Tottenham (£70.6m - €103.3m) 13th, Manchester City (£60.9m - €89m) in 17th and Everton (£60m - €87.7m) 18th.
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