The three richest football clubs in the world are Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United. If you’re a true football fan, you should notice that one of these is not like others. Taking into consideration the success each of these teams has had in the last decade, Manchester United is way behind Real and Barca, and even behind Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and Liverpool, which are still generating less money than them.
So, how has Manchester United kept being a financial powerhouse even though the team is not doing so great right now, and how did they become so rich in the first place?
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the prime reasons why Manchester United became one of the most successful clubs in European Football. He won his first Premier League title with the club in 1993, ending United’s 26-year drought of not being the champions of top-tier English football league.
Ferguson went on to win a total of 13 EPL titles, as well as two Champions League trophies in 1999 and 2008. In 1999, Manchester United also won their first “treble”, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in the same season.
All this propelled Manchester United to become one of the best and most popular football clubs in the world. Although the years after the retirement of Ferguson in 2013 were followed by a string of unsuccessful seasons, United’s popularity lingered on and is still at a high level today.
Sponsorships and Merchandising
Manchester United is well known for attracting big sponsors. Their kit sponsor is Adidas, while they have shirts with the Chevrolet logo on them as well. Prior to that, their kit manufacturers were Umbro and Nike, while sponsors included Sharp Electronics, Vodafone, AIG, and Aon.
No matter which place you visit in the world, as long as football is a popular sport in that country, you are likely to see people wearing Manchester United jerseys. Man United is still one of the most profitable clubs when it comes to merchandising, and sponsorship and merchandising together brought them a revenue of over €300 million last year.
Broadcasting and Ticket Sales
Because Manchester United is so popular, the most renowned TV stations are fighting to buy broadcasting rights for their matches every season. Being in the Premier League helps, as it is one of the best league competitions in Europe and the world. In 2019, United earned a staggering €230 million from broadcasting rights alone.
Premier League is also known for having packed stadiums. English people are simply crazy about football, and they always fill their arenas no matter where the team sits on the table. Manchester United plays its home games on Old Trafford, which is the biggest Premier League stadium with a capacity of just under 75,000. The tickets are not cheap, so the club earns over €100 million through ticket sales every year.
Although Manchester United is not as good as it was in the last couple of decades, the team is still performing good enough to keep attracting top sponsors and players. However, due to the lack of major titles, the club is seeing some small dips in their revenue, so it’s questionable whether they will continue being one of the richest football clubs unless they win something big soon.