LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11: Jose Mourinho, Head Coach of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier ... [+] League match between Tottenham Hotspur and
As a soccer fan, there is nothing better than watching your team beat one of its local rivals. But as the chairman of a top Premier League club, overtaking two of them financially in one long stride will taste far sweeter than any on-field victory.
So, when the 2020 Deloitte Football Money League was released on Monday night and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy saw that Spurs had surpassed Chelsea and Arsenal to become London’s highest revenue generating club in the 2018-19 season, he would have felt like popping the cork on a nice bottle of champagne.
Tottenham, with a total revenue of $579.2m last season, has moved up two places in the rankings to eighth, whilst Chelsea ($570.4m) and Arsenal ($495.4) have moved down one and two places to ninth and 11th, respectively.
For Tottenham, that newest figure represents a leap of $103.1m, or around 21.5%, against its performance in 2017-18. It is also an enormous development over the mid-term. Since 2015, the club’s revenue has more than doubled.
Spurs is now the fourth richest English club, behind only Manchester United (third place with $791.2m in revenue), Manchester City (sixth, $679.0m) and Liverpool (seventh, $672.4m).
For Daniel Levy and the club’s other executives, the exceptional financial performance will be seen as the result of a multi-pronged approach. But the biggest factors in the 2018-19 season were Tottenham’s performance in the Champions League and improved commercial partnerships.
In the light of the Deloitte report, it is also possible to gain further insight into the logic of firing Mauricio Pochettino and appointing José Mourinho as manager.
The run to the Champions League final last season was a huge boost to the coffers, helping to increase Spurs’ broadcasting revenue by $56.2m.
Sam Bloor, a senior manager of the Deloitte Sports Business Group, said: “The impact of participation and performance in Uefa club competitions on revenue is evident in London and the north-west, with the rise of Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs driven by reaching the Champions League knockout stages.
“The relative decline of Arsenal is a direct result of not participating in the competition for a second consecutive season, a fate that may also befall Manchester United.”
Having progressed to the last 16 of this year’s Champions League, where it will take on RB Leipzig, Tottenham can count on that same revenue stream for next year’s balance sheet too.
Elsewhere, the move from Under Armour to Nike as the official kit supplier continued to pay dividends, with bonuses from the sportswear behemoth combined with those from main sponsor AIA, an Asian insurance company, bringing in an extra $39.9m compared to the previous season.
“There were also a number of new deals with partners in new sectors for the club such as the automotive, cryptocurrency and accommodation industries”, the Deloitte report continued, explaining the jump in commercial revenue.
The good news for Tottenham fans is that growth is expected to continue. This is the club’s first full season in the 62,000-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which will give matchday income a significant lift. And commercially, a new partnership with HSBC is expected to be completed and the stadium’s naming rights could be sold for a substantial fee.
Despite poor recent displays from his team on the field, the appointment of José Mourinho as manager can also be seen as part of this strategy to steadily drive revenue up.
Clearly, the main priority for the Portuguese is improving Tottenham’s on-field results to put them in contention for a Champions League place, which is crucial for the reasons cited above. But as well as a football manager with a strong record, Mourinho is a global brand.
Despite coming in at eighth in the Money League, Spurs do not do so well on social media, falling outside the world’s clubs top 10 in terms of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Its most popular player on Instagram is Harry Kane, with 9.3m followers. But that pales in comparison with the likes of Liverpool’s Mohamad Salah and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, who have a respective 35.4m and 38.8m followers on the photo platform.
Yet since Mourinho’s arrival, Spurs have performed well in this regard. In the KPMG Football Benchmark social media reports for the periods November 15 to December 15 2019 and December 13 2019 to January 13 2020, Tottenham were one of the five fastest-growing clubs in terms of social media followers in both months.
From mid-November to mid-December, their number of subscribers on YouTube went up 21%, whilst from mid-December to mid-January, the numbers of followers on Facebook and Instagram jumped by seven and six percent respectively.
The Mourinho effect, then, is clear. And having a manager with the international profile of the two-time Champions League winner, whatever fans may think of his on-field tactics, will continue to be a bonus for the club as it negotiates business deals in the boardroom.
Daniel Levy may be shelling out $19.3m a year to secure Mourinho’s services — the second highest salary of any manager in the Premier League — but if that is what it takes to keep Tottenham on track in the financial battle with their local rivals, he won’t mind a jot.