SAFC climb the money league

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SUNDERLAND’S place in football’s financial big league was confirmed today.

New research from financial specialist Deloitte puts the Black Cats at number 30 in the list of the world’s top football money-spinners, with an estimated turnover during the 2010/11 season of almost £80million.

The figures highlight the importance of the Premier League to the financial success of clubs, with more than half of SAFC’s revenue coming from TV rights and prize money alone.

Last season, all 20 Premier League sides received a total of £31.7million in TV broadcast payments – £13.8million for domestic rights and £17.9million from overseas – for a set minimum number of games.

Clubs were then paid for any extra games broadcast – worth an additional £6.3million for Sunderland – and received prize money depending on their final place in the league.

Sunderland’s 3-0 win away at West Ham on the closing day of the season – coupled with Newcastle throwing away a 3-0 lead at home to West Brom – was enough to see the Black Cats climb above their North East rivals into 10th place, picking up a further £8.3million in prize money

If anything, however, today’s report undervalues the club. Deloitte’s figures include only income from the club’s ordinary footballing business activities, such as ticket sales and merchandising, as well as broadcast rights.

That means that although the figures cover a 12-month period to July 31 last year, the £79.4million turnover figure does not include the £18million Sunderland received from Aston Villa for Darren Bent in January 2011.

Nor does it include the estimated £20million paid by Liverpool for Jordan Henderson in June, or any of the income generated by events such as concerts or hosting Sunderland University’s graduation ceremony.

A fuller picture of the club’s worth will emerge later this year, when the Black Cats release their annual financial report.

Deloitte estimates Sunderland’s turnover for 2010-11 was up by 21 per cent on the previous season.

However, Newcastle saw a much more dramatic rise. Bouncing back into the Premier League at the first time of asking saw the Magpies’ turnover rise by 69 per cent to £88.5million, enough to claim 25th place on the finance league table.

For the fourth successive year, the clubs claiming the top six places in the Money League – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea – have remained the same, with no movement in their respective positions for the last three years.

Manchester United’s failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League this season is likely to see the financial gulf between the Old Trafford side and their Spanish rivals further extended.

Commenting on the impact of UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement, Paul Rawnsley, a director in the sports business group at Deloitte, commented: “The focus on football’s future financial sustainability is more prevalent in Europe than at any time in the past 20 years.

“We remain keen to see that translated into a better balance between revenue and expenditure. UEFA’s break-even requirement, to be assessed for the first time in 2013, is helpful in driving this improvement.

“It is encouraging more owners to consider the longer-term development of their clubs, in terms of generating revenues, investing in facilities and youth development, and controlling their expenditures.”

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