Benfica is well known for its talent production, and their domination in Portuguese football. But also they have great financial results in the last couple of years.
Eagles had a great European campaign in 2019. They got past Fenerbahce and PAOK to get into the Champions League group stages. There they beat AEK Athens twice and secured third place in the group, and the qualification to the UEFA Europa League.
Then they eliminated Galatasaray and Dinamo Zagreb to get to the quarterfinals. After beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4:2 in the first game, in the second they lost 2:0 and got out of the competition.
Thanks to that result their revenue rose from €122 million in 2018 to €166 million in 2019. On the expenses side of things, their player amortization expense stayed pretty much the same as in the last years – €33 million. It was even €1 million smaller than in 2018. But their wages jumped from €68 million to nearly €100 million in 2019.
While Benfica had an operating loss of €35 million, they covered it up with €70 million of player sales. When investors withdrew their €10 million in interest, Benfica had a net profit of €25 million in 2019.
But the real measure of how much Benfica progressed financially in the last couple of years is their debt. Portuguese clubs have been suffocated by huge debt in the past, and now Benfica is working to fix that.
Their debt in 2015 and 2016 was as high as €325 million. In 2017 it went below €300 million marks and then dropped dramatically in the last two years. Lisbon club’s debt halved to €148 million in 2019, and it continues to go down.
Benfica has a matchday revenue of around €30 million. Also, their broadcasting and commercial revenue have risen because of Champions League money. In 2019/20 they had similar results in Europe, so we can expect even smaller debt in the financial overview of 2020 for this club.
Benfica is an example of how you can overhaul your financial model in just a couple of years. It also tells us that there is plenty of money in football. Even teams outside of the Big 5 leagues can achieve remarkable financial results. For example, to have revenues of over €150 million yearly!