A life spent passing as the poor cousins of Madrid, then on the “Barcelona-Atletico day” even the most faithful “colchoneros” would have never dreamed of receiving such an endorsement: “El otro clasico” (the other classic big match) headlined Marca to present the match that will see Real’s main antagonists face to face – live on Fox Sports at 10pm. This ninety minutes at the Camp Nou will also be useful to appreciate the results of complex corporate work that led Atletico to increase operating income by 62% in five seasons while containing expenses; all of this without compromising success on the field: one Liga, one Copa del Rey and two Champions League final appearances, among other things.

As shown by a KPMG analysis, Atletico had the ability to increase their revenue at a 13% annual growth rate, for five consecutive years. At this pace, the club could achieve approximately €200 million in operating revenue for 2016 and aim to improve even from a sportive point of view in the current year. According to KPMG, the good management of the club is based on three pillars: a contract extension to the most valuable players; quality development of youth sector; purchase of talents such as Antoine Griezmann that can power the dreams of the red-and-whites fans.

Atletico Madrid's operating revenues in the past five seasons - Source KPMG
Atletico Madrid’s operating revenues in the past five seasons – Source KPMG

But how did Atletico manage to increase its revenue? Television rights have an important weight on the club’s accounts and account for 50% of the total, including participation in the UCL and Liga rights. In the 2015/2016 season, thanks to the UCL Final in Milan and the new distribution of television rights of the Spanish top league, the club is expected to reach a new record in terms of broadcasting, says KPMG, and this should carry the club straight towards the total of €200 million.

Pending the official data, the consulting firm observes that the red-and-whites of Madrid in recent years have been able to capitalize on the commercial side that grew at an annual rate of 16%, thanks to agreements with Coca-Cola, La Caixa, Huawei, and Nike; but, above all, thanks to the deal closed with the main sponsor that will guarantee €42.5 million in the next four seasons. A less significant increase was recorded for the match day that throughout the reporting period went up by only 15% due to the limited size of Calderon (55,000 seats). However, Atletico took care of this problem since starting next season will move to a new stadium with a 68,000 seat capacity.

Along with revenues, expenses increased by nine percent, but in proportion to sales, remain well below the limits UEFA (70%): the ratio fell from 68% in 2012 to 60% in 2015. KPMG points out that in the 2013/2014 season, the salary budget has increased by 77% compared to the previous season, but it is a side effect of sport successes: Atletico reached the Champions League final against Real and had to distribute copious bonuses.

In addition to accounting management, Atletico Madrid has been a pioneer for being able to attract, well ahead of others, Chinese partners in its shareholding structure, with Wanda Group that has acquired 20% of the club for €45 million. Today it is one of the first teams to hold a direct stake in another club: in May it bought 35% of Lens and this, according to KPMG, could do nothing but help the club’s income, as the French club historically produces talents that could reach Madrid at a discounted price. For now, although Barcelona and Real Madrid’s revenues are on a different league, Atletico can count on a €13 million profit on June 30 2015, which is expected to grow in the season that just ended. All in all, KPMG forecasts the future can’t be other than bright.