Spanish clubs lead Europe in merchandise income

MADRID - Clubs in Europe's top five leagues generated merchandising and licensing revenue of 631 million euros last season, with Real Madrid and Barcelona putting Spain top, a report showed on Tuesday.

The figure from clubs in Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France for the 2009-10 season was a six percent increase compared to a similar study conducted in 2008, according to the latest European Football Merchandising Report from Sport+Markt and PR Marketing who said replica shirt sales fuelled the rise.

La Liga clubs reaped revenue of around 190 million euros, with Real and Barca, the richest two clubs on the continent, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total.

English Premier League clubs, whose income was much more evenly distributed, earned 168 million, followed by Bundesliga clubs with 130 million, Italy's Serie A on 77 million and France's Ligue 1 with 67 million, the study showed.

"The boom in European football merchandising is ongoing," Peter Rohlmann of PR Marketing said.

"However, it is primarily the less established leagues that can look forward to significant growth, as they are gradually identifying the importance of club merchandising in brand management," he added.

Sport+Markt and PR Marketing surveyed 182 top-flight clubs and more than 10,000 people from 10 countries for the report, which showed 13.7 million replica shirts were sold in the top five leagues plus Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine in the 2009-10 season.

Adidas and Nike had a combined market share of some 83 percent, with the remaining 34 kit manufacturers selling 2.3 million jerseys, or 17 percent of the total.

"Jersey sales represent the core business of many clubs and are often responsible for around 50 percent of merchandising revenue," said Andreas Ullmann, a senior consultant at Sport+Markt.

The top 10 clubs ranked by retail revenue were: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Olympique Marseille, Manchester United, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Olympique Lyon and Fenerbahce.