Manchester United have overtaken Real Madrid to become Europe’s most valuable club, despite a below-par season in which they finished a lowly sixth on the Premier League.
The latest football rich list from KPMG highlights the increasing financial dominance of England’s top clubs over their rivals elsewhere on the Continent.
United failed to qualify for last season’s lucrative Uefa Champions League and haven’t won the domestic league since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but the club increased in value to €3.1bn, thanks largely to a bumper television rights deal.
United will return to the Champions League next season after victory in Europe’s second-tier competition, the Europa League. Qualification will prevent the loss of millions in sponsorship income and potentially consolidate the club’s place as football’s most valuable outfit.
KPMG studied the publicly available financial information of 39 clubs, as well as their popularity on social media and success in European competitions.
The top 32 teams had a combined value of €29.9bn (£26bn), an increase of more than €3bn on last year. The three top teams – Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona – account for around a third of the total value.
The influx of cash into football’s biggest clubs saw transfer records broken last year with United manager Jose Mourinho paying £89m to bring Paul Pogba back from Juventus after a spell away at the Italian champions.
KPMG’s €3.05bn ($3.4bn) valuation of Manchester United suggests that the stock market is currently underpricing the club which is listed in New York with a market capitalisation of $2.8bn.
Real Madrid fell to second in the rich list, despite a successful season which saw them win the Spanish title for the first time in five years and reach the Champions League final, to be played on Saturday.
The lack of correlation between footballing and financial performance further underlines the increasing importance of broadcasting rights to top clubs.
At the start of the 2016/17 season the Premier League began a new TV rights deal with Sky and BT Sport worth £10.4bn over three years.
“In terms of media rights value, the English Premier League sits comfortably at the top of European leagues, although other major leagues have outlined well-defined strategies to compete for the attention of global fans,” said Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s global head of sports and the report’s author
Further down the list, German champions Bayern Munich kept the fourth place they held last year, while Manchester City overtook Arsenal to take fifth spot.
Leicester City and Everton were the two other English clubs to make the list, in 16th and 17th place respectively.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies