Football’s flawed economics

English Premier League champions Manchester United have been named by Forbes as the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The club have been valued at $1.86bn, ahead of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys ($1.81bn) and the New York Yankees ($1.7bn).

Despite topping the rich list, United have a total debt which now stands at $756 million, or 41% of the team’s value (the average debt-to-value ratio of the top 50 sports franchises is 26%). New rules being drafted by UEFA seek to prevent clubs from taking on unsustainable levels of debt.

United’s neighbours, Manchester City, will face difficulties  complying with new UEFA financial fair play rules after an investigation was announced into the club’s £400m, 10-year sponsorship arrangement with Etihad Airways. The club recorded losses of £120m at the end of the 2009 – 2010 season. Its new owners have spent over £400m since taking over in 2008.

See Chartwell’s interview with business speaker Chris Brady on the lessons football can teach business. Professor Chris Brady is the dean of BPP Business School and once played semi-professional football.

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