1. Matchday receipts
2. Commercial sales (shirt sales, sponsorship etc)
3. TV broadcasting rights
As the popularity and stature of the club improves (achieved from winning titles, signing marquee players and marketing), these sources of income increase exponentially.
Over the years, clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid have set the standard in seeking the unreached and building a vast global fanbase empire.
Estimated numbers are as follows,
Team (Estimated no. of fans)
1. Manchester United (330m)
2. Real Madrid (228m)
3. Juventus (170m)
4. Barcelona (70m)
5. Liverpool (70m)
6. Arsenal (27m)
7. Chelsea (20m)
8. Bayern Munich (12m)
Coincidentally, 6 of the 8 clubs above are still slugging it out in the UEFA Champions League and all 8 clubs are seasonal CL certainties. It would be interesting to understand the popularity impact of reaching the CL quarterfinals will have on Villareal and Porto.
With such attractive numbers, I should no longer be surprised that Air Asia is visibly considering being a sponsor for the mighty Manchester United brand.