Manchester United may have failed to finish in the top four for the last two seasons but have been named the most valuable club in the world.
Professional services firm KPMG’s latest study has United ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona despite the Glazer-owned club owing almost half a billion pounds of debt.
The rich list saw a number of English clubs lead the charge with six of the top ten richest sides competing in the Premier League.
The English game’s growing financial muscle is highlighted in the second year of KPMG’s report.
The study looked at the finances of 39 clubs based on their popularity on social media channels, revenues for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, and success in European competitions.
The clubs were then ranked by a measure used judge how much it would cost to buy any given club as it includes a business’s total debt.
Despite two relatively disappointing seasons on the pitch between 2014 and 2016, United’s value surged clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona last year, becoming the first club to break the 3billion euros (£2.7billion) mark for enterprise value.
Bayern Munich remain in fourth place, while Manchester City edge past Arsenal to take fifth spot, both with enterprise values of just under £1.7billion.
Alisher Usmanov’s recently rebuffed bid for the latter valued the North London club at £1.54billion.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Spurs fill the next four positions, which means six of the 10 are from the Premier League.
In a statement, KPMG’s global head of sports Andrea Sartori said the figures show the growth in the game underpinned by the broadcasting boom and more sustainable management models.
Last year’s Premier League winners Leicester City (16th) and Everton (17th) are the two other English clubs to make KPMG’s top 32, with Scottish champions Celtic being among seven non-ranked ‘runners up’.
With eight teams in the top 32, English clubs lead the way, a trend that should only continue next year as the Premier League’s improved 2016-19 domestic TV deal is reflected in the accounts, as well as the increased overseas broadcast deals and commercial revenues.
For example, English clubs hold five of the top 10 positions for shirt-sponsorship revenue, too, with United in first place, ahead of Barca, Bayern, Chelsea and Real.
In fact, the Premier League would be even more dominant in an enterprise value table that did not take into account UEFA’s five-year coefficient, as KPMG does to establish sporting success.
MOST VALUABLE EUROPEAN CLUBS
|Position||Club||Bottom value (Euros)||Mid-point value||Top value|