The world’s most valuable soccer team still resides in Spain, but in a different city.
Barcelona took the top spot on Forbes’ list of the most valuable soccer teams at $4.76 billion, barely edging out Real Madrid’s $4.75 billion.
The global pandemic may have taken an enormous bite out of soccer club revenues, but it couldn’t touch their values. The top 20 team values rose 30% in aggregate from two years ago.
That growth was not evenly distributed: The top two teams rose 18% and 12% in value, but Liverpool (5th) rose 88% in that time frame, and Paris Saint-Germain (9th) and Borussia Dortmund (11th) more than doubled in value.
Three clubs lost value from two years ago: AC Milan (16th), AS Roma (17th), and West Ham United (18th).
The last two years have brought new sources of potential revenue.
- Sports betting has grown exponentially, with Real Madrid going as far as building a casino into its new stadium.
- The sport has also gotten into the NFT game, namely through the digital marketplace Sorare.
- Online retail partnerships through sites such as Fanatics have grown in importance, with in-person retail limited.
Barcelona’s hold on the top of the list may be tenuous.
Superstar Lionel Messi may be headed for another club as soon as June, and CEO Oscar Grau and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu were arrested following an investigation related to alleged overpayments to a marketing firm to launch a smear campaign targeting Messi and other players.