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Forbes lists 2014’s most valuable soccer teams

May 10, 2014, 7:39 AM EST

Germany Soccer Champions League AP

Curious as to whether your soccer team is ranked as one of the most valuable in the world? It’s not as simple as the club reporting the highest profit, or having the capacity to splash out on the likes of, say, Gareth Bale.

Making it on to Forbes’ top twenty list requires a combination of success on the field, investment in the club, sponsorship deals, and also, possibly, a certain undefinable quality. The list does not include the formula on which the valuations were determined, although it does provide a one-sentence summary of the team’s recent history.

Some inclusions are to be expected. Real Madrid, whose transfer fee for the aforementioned Bale is the highest ever, takes the top spot, followed by Barcelona. In total there are three clubs from Spain, four from Germany, five from Italy and six from England. France’s Paris Saint-Germain and Turkey’s Galatasaray round out the list.

Galatasaray’s inclusion makes one wish for clearer guidelines on how the list was developed. Yes, the cim bom are Turkey’s most successful club, but they’re making just over $200m, while operating at a loss of $4m. There is no information about sponsorship or merchandising revenue. Somehow, though, Gala are valued at $347m.

The inclusion of four German clubs may surprise some, but for those advocating fiscal responsibility and sustainability, it’s a good sign for the future. German clubs are required to have over 50% German ownership, have strict limitations on going into debt to finance transfers, and keep their ticket prices amazingly low. Their value – beyond on-field success, of course – stems from sponsorship deals and merchandise revenues.

 

The full list includes each club’s current value, its revenue, and its operating income. Check out the full details of the twenty most valuable soccer teams here.

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