Football, also known as soccer in the United States, is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world. The biggest teams and competitions in the sport often have billions of people tuned into the biggest games on offer, and it is no wonder the biggest brands try to leverage on the potential number of their products can reach with advertising.
The biggest teams with the richest owners attract the biggest and best players, win the biggest trophies, win the biggest prize monies on offer, have a larger chunk of TV revenue, attract the biggest brands as sponsors, and attract even more revenue streams.
In this article, we’d highlight the 3 most valuable football teams in the world.
Barcelona – $4.76 billion
FC Barcelona, despite their well-known financial woes, are listed by Deloitte Football League as the most valuable team in the world with a value of around $4.76b. Founded in 1899 in the Catalunya section of the country, they are one of the most successful teams in the world, and have won the European Treble twice, alongside Bayern Munich, the only two teams who have achieved this feat.
Despite losing star player, Lionel Messi last summer, Barcelona are slowly getting back to their feet with full capacity slowly returning to their 99,000 capacity Camp Nou stadium. Their shirt sponsorship deal, which runs out this summer, is worth an estimated $64m with Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing giants, Rakuten. According to Statista, they earned around €165m in TV rights at the end of the 2019/2020 season.
The club is trying to reduce its mammoth wage bill and have let a couple of big earners, such as Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann leave the club, and are trying to re-focus their transfer strategy by buying young players with potential and resale value.
They are also a draw to brands on social media as they have a combined following of 246.5m followers.
Real Madrid – $4.75 billion
Founded in 1902, Los Blancos, as they are fondly referred to, are arguably the biggest team in the world and the numbers are there to prove it. They have won the Champions League an astonishing 13 times, the only team to win the trophy in double figures, and have won the Spanish league title a whopping 32 times, 6 ahead of bitter rivals, Barcelona.
Managed by Italian coaching legend, Carlo Ancelotti, they are worth an estimated value of $4.75b and are the most followed football club in the world in terms of social media numbers with close to 261m followers across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
They are working on the renovation of their iconic Santiago Bernabeu that will be completed by this summer. The stadium expansion will improve the matchday experience of the team’s home matches, and help attract a younger demography and fanbase, which has been one of the key goals of club president, Florentino Perez.
Madrid currently earn around €70m annually from shirt sponsor, Emirates, a deal which is the biggest shirt sponsorship in the world at the moment. They also earned around €165m from TV rights at the end of the 2019/20, according to data provided by Statista.
Bayern Munich – $4.215 billion
German behemoths, Bayern Munich are perhaps the best run football club in the world. They have efficient ownership, recruitment, marketing and fan support systems that make them compete at the top of European football despite their local dominance in the Bundesliga. They are the 3rd most valuable team in the world, worth an estimated $4.215b, and have a combined social media following with 89.3m followers.
Based in Munich in Southern Germany, Bayern were founded in 1900 and have won the German league a record 31 times, 20 national cups, and the Champions League 6 times, the last coming in 2020, which was part of the Treble. Their stadium, the Allianz Arena, with a capacity of 75,024, completed in 2005, is one of the most recognized stadiums in the world, with its beautiful exterior, capable of lighting up in different colours due to its 2,874 ETFE-foil air panels.
Allianz purchased a 30-year naming rights to the stadium back in 2005 but the name can’t be used for FIFA and UEFA events due to restrictions. The club has a shirt sponsorship with German telecommunications giants, Deutsche Telekom is worth an estimated $283 million, and expires in the 2022/23 season.