At this point, you’re not going to find anyone who disagrees that money = power in football. As the wealthy clubs regularly drop the GDP of small nations in a single transfer window, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots has never been wider. This divergence is clearly visible on the pitch, but you can see it in a lot of other places as well. For example, let’s have a look at how much Serie A teams are making from jersey and corporate sponsorships.
Marco Bellinazzo has done a pretty good job of digging up all the numbers for the top-flight clubs on the peninsula, and the differences between them are striking. Nobody will be shocked that Juventus make the most, with an annual income of €50 million from just their uniforms. Adidas contributes €25 million of that, main sponsor Jeep contributes €19 million, and Cygames throws in an additional €6 million.
AC Milan is second, with €20 million from Adidas and an additional €15 million from Emirates Air for a total of €35 million. Inter Milan are right behind, as they get €18 million from Nike and €12.5 million from Pirelli, which adds up to €30.5 million. The Milan clubs are followed by Sassuolo, which is inexplicable until you realize that their stadium ownership also figures into their €20 million deal with Mapei.
Next up is Napoli, as they receive €8.5 million from shirt maker Kappa, €6.5 million from primary sponsor Lete, and another €2.5 million from Garofalo and Kimbo for a total of €17.5 million per annum. AS Roma get €5 million from Nike, but haven’t inked a deal with a corporate sponsor yet, so that’s the total of their income for now, although it’s expected that they’ll make a deal with someone soon and add another good-sized pile of lucre.
The next tier is headlined by Lazio, who get €8 million per year: half from shirt maker Seleco and half from Macron. Then it’s Torino, who get €7.3 million altogether—€2.6 million from Kappa, €3.2 million from Suzuki, and another €1.5 million from Beretta and SportPesa.
And that brings us to Fiorentina. The Viola’s total annual take from sponsors is a relatively paltry €3 million from Le Coq Sportif. “But what about Folletto,” you ask. “Surely a company that makes vacuum cleaners has to chip in quite a bit to get a team to put a logo on their shirts that basically say ‘We suck.’” That’s the rub, though. Bellinazzo was unable to figure out how much Folletto pays to get their name on that famous purple shirt. If we had to guess, though, we’d say it’s probably right around €3 mil.
It’s pretty easy to make some simple correlations here: the more money a team makes, the better it tends to do. The outliers are Roma (who are probably going to sign a deal soon and earn a pile doing so) and Sassuolo, who are a good bet to climb in the table over the long term due to their outstanding financial situation.
Fiorentina, though, are strong candidates to move the other way, or would be if this were the only metric one used to measure things. Without that extra money, it’s a lot harder to buy top players, and without top players, it’s a lot harder to move up the table to the bonanza of European competition. As the bigger teams do so, the smaller ones lose out on that income, establishing a cycle that’s very hard to break. Without a kick in the pants, it’s hard to see how the Viola can break that cycle any time soon.