Manchester United have earned more Uefa Champions League prize money than any other club since the introduction of the current 32-team format in 2003, according to a study by Italian firm StageUp - Sport & Leisure.
Of the €3.7 billion distributed by Uefa over the past seven seasons, Manchester United have won €216 million, putting the three-time European champions ahead of Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. Those three clubs, along with Liverpool, had until this year featured in every Champions League season since the second group stage was scrapped in 2003/4. All four teams featured in at least one final during that time, earning an average of €195.3 million. Manchester United won the competition in 2006, with Liverpool recording their fifth European triumph in 2005.
Current champions Inter Milan were fourth on the list with €174.5m, while 2006 and 2009 winners Barcelona were sixth with €167.7 million, just behind French team Olympique Lyonnais.
The study coincides with the return of Champions League soccer and a Uefa statement extensively detailing the potential earnings for clubs in this year's competition. Each team will be guaranteed a minimum €7.2 million of competition revenue, including a participation bonus of €3.9 million and a fee of €550,000 for each of the six group stage games. A win in the group stage will be worth an additional €800,000, with €400,000 paid out for each draw.
Further payments will accrue from advancing through the competition, with €3m awarded to participants in the round of 16, €3.3m to quarter-finalists and €4.2m to the four semi-finalists. The winners will earn another €9 million, with €5.6 million going to the runners-up. These earnings are added to gate receipts, which each team will be able to retain in full, and a weighted share of the market pool. The teams competing in the qualification play-offs received €2.1 million.
The 2010/11 Champions League kicked off earlier this week, returning to its regular Tuesday and Wednesday evening slot. The final will be played at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday 28th May.