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La Liga is a very rich league.

So how does Spain’s top tier of pro football rank against the planet’s other top-earning sports leagues?

You may be surprised to learn the answer. We’ll spill the beans without further ado: La Liga generates the sixth most revenue among sports leagues. It’s also the second-highest grossing football conglomerate in the world, behind the English Premier League.

With 20 member clubs, La Liga is smaller than some league, while earning more per year. In fact, La Liga is two-thirds the size or smaller than North America’s NFL (32 teams), MLB (30 teams), and NBA (30 teams).

The Top 10 Revenue Producing Leagues in the World

To get an idea of how La Liga’s annual revenue compares to other sports leagues, take a look at the top 10 leagues by annual revenue.

Rank League Country Sport No. of Teams Annual Revenue (€ billion)
1 National Football League US American football 32 11.4
2 Major League Baseball US / Canada Baseball 30 9.2
3 Indian Premier League India Cricket 8 6.7
4 Premier League England / Wales Association football 20 6.6
5 National Basketball Association US / Canada Basketball 30 6.3
6 La Liga Spain Association football 20 4.5
7 National Hockey League US / Canada Ice hockey 31 4.2
8 Bundesliga Germany Association football 18 3.8
9 Serie A Spain Association football 20 2.2
10 UEFA Champions League Europe Association football 32 2.1

 

La Liga pulls in a hefty €4.5 billion a year. That figure breaks down to an average of €224 million per club. The league is earning more than they have been at any other time in the competition’s 91-year history. In fact, revenue was up 20.6 percent in 2017/18 over the previous season alone.

Interestingly, half of the world’s top 10 earning leagues are in association with football.

Despite widespread downward trends in football viewership, the beautiful game is raking in more cash than ever. Add up the revenue produced by Europe’s richest flights and the Champions League, and the take is over €17 billion.

Comparing the NFL and La Liga

The NFL is the world’s richest league by revenue, with an annual take of about €11.4 billion. That’s nearly three times the yearly revenue generated by La Liga.

The NFL earns massive sums through the traditional means of ticket sales and TV contracts. Consumers are also responsible for spending on team merchandise. Sports betting is a growing piece of the puzzle. Nowadays, there are dozens of different wagers NFL punters can place in an increasing number of US markets.

La Liga similarly enjoys lucrative TV contracts. Barcelona secured €154 million in TV revenue for the 2017/18 campaign, while Real Madrid earned €110.6 million. Atletico Madrid scored the third-highest amount with €110.6 million.

Overall, €1.33 billion in TV revenue was split between Spain’s 20 top-flight clubs in 2017/18.

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Barcelona and Real Madrid Lead the Pack

As we see from TV revenue, earnings are not equally distributed among La Liga clubs. Neither are club values.

As you might expect, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the most valuable clubs in the league by market value. Both are worth an estimated  €967 million as of 15 Jan 2020, according to Transfermarkt.

Granada CF and CA Osasuna round out the league’s least valuable clubs by market value at €56.33 million and €64.10 million respectively. CA Osasuna is currently playing in La Liga after spending the previous two seasons in La Liga 2.

Additionally, Deportivo Alavés, Real Valladolid CF, CD Leganés, RCD Mallorca, and SD Eibar are worth under €100 million.

La Liga’s combined market value of all 20 clubs in 2019/20 is €5.35 billion.

NBC Sports ranks Real Madrid (€3.85 billion) and Barcelona (€3.66 billion) as the world’s third and fourth most valuable clubs according to total franchise net worth. The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and MLB’s New York Yankees take the top two spots.