For the third year running, Bayern Munich has placed fourth in the Deloitte Football Money League. In the 2019 edition, covering the 2017/18 season, Bayern saw overall revenue growth of 7%, from €588m to €629m, a difference of €41.4m (roughly equivalent to the transfer fee of Corentin Tolisso). Bayern has become the fourth club to pass the €600m revenue benchmark at the top of the Money League.
There was some jostling for position ahead of Bayern: Real Madrid leaped to the top of the League after winning an unprecedented third-consecutive Champions League title, enjoying revenue growth of over €75m (from €675 to €751). Barcelona moved up to second place (€690m), while Manchester United fell two spots to third place (€666m — a drop of €10m). Bayern is followed in the Money League by Manchester City (€568m) and Paris Saint-Germain (€542).
Growing reliance on commercial revenue
Bayern Munich continues to rely increasingly on commercial revenue to sustain its growth, despite improvements to the Bundesliga’s domestic TV-broadcasting deal, which went into effect last season. Bayern’s commercial revenue grew about 2%, from €343.4m in the 2016/17 season to €348.7 last year. Commercial revenue made up a total of 55% of Bayern’s overall revenue in 2017/18, down from 58% in 2016/17.
Despite Bayern’s continued reliance on commercial revenue, Real Madrid passed Bayern to claim first place as “the world’s highest commercial revenue generating football club” (p. 7) in 2017/18. Los Blancos cashed in on an astounding €356.2m (+75m!) buoyed by their Champions League success. Bayern could conceivably reclaim the title soon, however, in light of Real Madrid’s disappointing season in La Liga this season — but they nonetheless remain in the Champions League knockout round.
Broadcast revenue rises significantly
The relative shares of broadcast and matchday revenue fell significantly. Matchday revenue rose slightly from €97.7m in 2016/17 to €103.8m in 2017/18 (a gain of 6%), while broadcast revenue rose significantly from €146.7m to €176.4m, a gain of over 20%.
Bayern’s bump in broadcast revenue is a product of the Bundesliga’s new TV-rights deal, which contributed an additional €30m, and some €15.7 distributed by UEFA for Bayern’s performance in the Champions League.
The numbers are a good illustration of why participation in the Champions League is so crucial for Bayern’s competitiveness. Without those boons last season, broadcast revenue would have declined to roughly €130.7m, a drop of €16m or 9.2%. For comparison, Borussia Dortmund’s broadcasting revenue also fell by €3.5m (from €125.8 to €122.3), since its early exit from the Champions League erased similar gains from the new Bundesliga TV-rights deal.
The Bundesliga falls further behind
The outlook for the rest of the Bundesliga is somewhat bleak. Despite the boost from the Bundesliga’s new TV-rights deal, only three clubs — Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund (12th: €317.2m), and Schalke (16th: €243.8m) remain in the top thirty wealthiest clubs in the Football Money League. Borussia Mönchengladbach (25th last year) failed to make the cut for the first time since 2014/15. Dortmund is on course for an excellent 2018/19 season, and Gladbach will likely also return to Champions League competition next year, but trouble looms ahead for Schalke: although their surprising advance to the Round of 16 will bring them a rich return, their dismal domestic showing virtually guarantees they will not feature in the Champions League next season. Which other German club will make the cut remains to be seen — RB Leipzig is currently 4th with 31 points, Eintracht Frankfurt in 5th with 30, but only five points separate them from 9th place.