Forbes has recently released its rankings of the most valuable soccer teams in the world in 2011. The piles of cash handed out by Europe's top tournaments continue to drive team values higher for the best teams on the pitch.
During the 2011 season the UEFA Champions League, the world's richest annual soccer competition, doled out a total of US$1.14 billion to the 32 teams that qualified for the group stage, 23 percent more than the previous year (generally the further a team advances in the tournament, the greater their share of the distribution). A 25 percent increase in UEFA's broadcasting revenue, to US$1.28 billion, fueled the increase.
The average enterprise value (equity plus debt) of the top 20 teams rose 20 percent, to US$770 million. Revenue (excluding player transfers) went up 23 percent, to an average of US$319 million per team during the 2010-11 season. Operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) increased 13 percent, to an average of US$45 million.
Following are the top 20 most valuable soccer teams in the world in 2011:
Napoli [Getty Images]
Current value: US$283 million; One-year value change: N/A
Debt/Value: 9 percent
Revenue: US$167 million
Operating income: US$58 million
Napoli did not qualify for last year's Champions League. But a greater share of the domestic league's television money, thanks to the new centralized deal, coupled with a third place finish in Serie A drove revenue up US$55 million. Broadcasting revenue increased US$27 million, to US$84 million. Napoli should increase in value over the next couple of years. The team's participation in the 2012 Champions League should lead to higher revenue, as will a new sponsorship deal with MSC Cruises, who will become a joint shirt sponsor with lete. Longer term, the renovation of Stadio San Paolo could add still more revenue.