Based on publicly available financial statements for the 2013/14 season across the ‘big five’ European leagues, Manchester United FC is the club with the highest level of fixed assets. The club recorded fixed assets of just over EUR 750 million as properties (EUR 291 million), players’ registrations (EUR 255 million), and other fixed assets (EUR 206 million). In addition, the club’s fixed assets also include approximately EUR 526 million due to goodwill which “arose largely in relation to the Group's acquisition of Manchester United Limited in 2005”. As a result, the club’s total fixed assets are recorded at almost EUR 1.3 billion with goodwill representing more than 40% of the total. No other club in our analysis has such a large contribution from goodwill.
With EUR 706 million recorded, Real Madrid FC is second to Manchester United FC in terms of fixed assets owned. The club’s total assets could receive a boost once the proposed redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium begins. However, at the time of writing this article, the proposed EUR 400 million reconstruction project remains on hold, awaiting final authorisation from the relevant local authorities.
Taking into consideration the player investments made by both Manchester United FC and Real Madrid FC in the 2014/15 transfer windows (reported to be approximately EUR 195 million and EUR 135 million, respectively), the gap, in terms of fixed assets, between these two clubs may change in the coming seasons.
Manchester City FC recorded fixed assets worth approximately EUR 690 million in 2013/14, just EUR 16 million less than Real Madrid FC. However, considering the major investment undertaken by the club in developing the Etihad Campus, their new training ground and youth academy, which opened in December 2014, and with an overall investment reportedly in excess of EUR 270 million, the club could surpass Real Madrid FC in terms of value of fixed assets owned once the 2014/2015 financial results are disclosed.
Notwithstanding the dominance of the city of Manchester in terms of the value of fixed assets owned by football clubs, there are three other English clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur) with fixed assets in excess of EUR 400 million. With English clubs tending to own their own stadium and training facilities more often than their counterparts in the other ‘big five’ leagues, their relative position is perhaps not surprising. For instance, in the case of Arsenal FC, properties account for almost 70% of the value of the total fixed assets owned by the club. This is mainly due to the investment in the Emirates Stadium which opened in 2006.
The largest Italian club by value of fixed assets is Juventus FC with a value of EUR 430 million recorded in 2013/14. Whilst FC Internazionale Milano owns fixed assets valued at just EUR 10 million less than Juventus FC, the nature of the assets owned by the two Italian teams differ significantly. While Juventus FC’s assets are relatively evenly distributed amongst players’ registrations (28%), properties (29%) and other fixed assets (43%), for FC Internazionale, properties only account for 3% of the value of their fixed assets. Whilst Juventus FC owns its home ground, which was opened in 2011 with a reported overall investment of EUR 120 million, FC Internazionale Milano leases San Siro Stadium from the local municipality.
With the exception of Juventus FC, and more recently Udinese, it is well known that, by and large, Italian clubs do not own their home stadiums. Furthermore, it is interesting to observe that, according to clubs’ financial statements, nine out of the 20 Italian clubs in Serie A in 2013/14 did not record ownership of any type of real estate.
Other interesting aspects to emerge from our analysis:
- With total fixed assets worth approximately EUR 400 million, Atlético de Madrid is ahead of FC Barcelona (EUR 360 million) in this ranking. In the short term, Atlético de Madrid may accentuate this gap considering that the construction of their new 70,000 capacity Estadio La Peineta is currently under way, although FC Barcelona have stadium plans of their own.
- FC Bayern München is the biggest German club by value of fixed assets owned (EUR 376 million). Allianz Arena München Stadion GmbH, a legal entity fully controlled by the club and which officially owns the Allianz Arena, reported total tangible assets of EUR 231 million in their 2013/14 financial statements.
- Based on the availability of data, no French club has total fixed assets valued above EUR 400 million. However, considering the major on-going investments being undertaken by several clubs in relation to stadium developments/renovations in preparation for UEFA EURO 2016, some French clubs may be expected to show higher fixed asset figures in the coming seasons.
As the value of clubs’ total fixed assets is mainly influenced by the value of players’ registrations and ownership of real estate, a club’s position is subject to annual change reflecting new and significant investments. A number of the clubs highlighted in this article, along with teams such as AC Milan and AS Roma, have further stadium investment plans. The levels of investment being reported could soon see some clubs approaching EUR 1 billion in total valued fixed assets.
Whilst efforts have been made by KPMG’s Sports practice to make these football club fixed asset valuation comparisons consistent, differences of accounting practices in each respective country, differences in reporting currencies, fluctuation in exchange rates, differences in year-end declarations and, above all, the possibility that certain assets (e.g. real estate properties) might be recorded by other affiliated entities, may to a certain extent limit the comparability of data reported.
Similar analysis and comparisons across a variety of other items to be found in the profit and loss accounts and balance sheets of football clubs are also possible and can easily be conducted via our dedicated portal - FootballBenchamrk.com
For the purposes of this article, clubs’ fixed assets have been broken down into three major categories:
- Players’ registrations: professional football clubs generally capitalise the cost of acquiring a player's registration from another club on the balance sheet under the heading Intangible Fixed Assets. The capitalised amount is then amortised over the period of the respective player's contract with the club;
- Properties: land and buildings (e.g. stadium, training centres and club’s headquarters) which are capitalised as tangible fixed assets; and
- Other fixed assets: consisting of other intangible assets different than players’ registrations (e.g. licences, software, brands) and other tangible fixed assets which are neither properties nor financial assets (e.g. support of subsidiaries or long-term financial investments).
Fixed assets are generally recorded within the clubs’ financial statements in line with their historical cost, that is, the cost that clubs incurred to purchase those assets. Hence, any players coming through the club’s youth academy would not be recorded in the financial statements since the club has not effectively incurred any acquisition cost.
Depending on the nature of the assets, fixed assets are depreciated based on their useful lifecycle. Players’ registrations are generally amortised in equal annual instalments over the length of their contract.
Based on these commonly accepted accounting principles, the book values of fixed assets can often differ from market values (fair values).
 Ranking based on financial statements publicly available for 2013/14 season.