How much money would it cost to become a football club owner?


So maybe you have sold your business and you are a big fan of football. And now you want the ultimate: your own football club. Ok. The following question must come to mind. What would a football club cost?


So we have good and bad news. Buying a football club doesn’t come cheap. But the good news is that it’s always nice to be part of a winning team and there are examples of owners that made a good profit.

The handshake that means the football club is yours

How do you identify the worth of a football club? Well, you can make a good start with asking yourself the following questions.

  • Does the club have full ownership of assets like the stadium, their ground or other (material) assets
  • What is the history of the football club and how big is their popularity/fan base
  • What’s the potential, is it close to a major city?
  • In which league do they play? Is it for example european football or Champions League?
  • How is the performance of the football club company? For example overhead vs. revenue and broadcasting rights.

Note that broadcasting money does increase a club’s valuation but als a vast majority of that goes often to new players and player’s salaries. Also note that a lot of clubs have huge debts which need to be factored when calculating their cost, that’s the main reason why some football clubs where sold for $ 1. This is a legal minimum a business can be bought for in a lot of countries.

A Topflight Team

Top flight is a variable that differs every season. When we look at the top 6 clubs in the UK (Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal) then Manchester United is way out in front because of their fan base and history. Today they have a brand value in excess of more that 3.9 billion dollar. Arsenal would be the next most valuable with a valuation of $ 3 billion dollar followed by City and Chelsea (both around $2–2.5 billion dollar).

However, these valuations are not what the clubs would cost to buy, because most of them have huge debts. For instance Mancheste United has over $ 390 million in debt. But all these clubs would cost $ 1.3 billion dollar or more today even after factoring in debt.

A Midtable Team

A mid table clubs price will widely vary depending on which one. If the club is doing poorly, desperately needs investment, rising debts or has an owner desperate to sell then discounts are available.

For example in the UK, Southampton is probably the most valuable because the have Europa League football, have high revenues from player sales and have a successful club. They could cost $ 500 million dollar or more. In comparison, a club like Stoke City could cost half that when debt is factored in.
Buying a football club will cost a lot of coins

A Team Fighting against Relegation

There are parachute payments but these only help a club with their wage bill (which is usually inflated beyond their expected revenues). Mostly these clubs were valued around $ 60 – $ 90 million dollar nowadays. The reason for the discount is because threat of relegation massively deters investors.

Outliers would be clubs with their own stadium and ground and clubs with 50,000+ supporters or clubs which are the main club in their city. These clubs can cost closer to Midtable club e.g. $ 150 million or more.

We based this numbers mostly on U.K. football clubs. See also our analysis on the richest clubs in the world.

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