For many years the debate has been, which is the best soccer league in the world: the Italian A League or the English Premier League. Taking a look at the last two years of the Champions League Tournament it is pretty obvious that the choice has to be the Premier League. There are some that think the Bundesliga from Germany should be in the debate as well but they only have one team in the Champions League final 8, in Schalke 04, and their powerhouse team, FC Bayern München, did not even qualify for the group phase of the Champions League, as they are currently in the UEFA Cup Tournament.
The Champions League draw today sets up some intriguing quarter-final and semi-final match-ups. The quarter-final draw was:
The team listed first plays the first leg at home and first-leg ties take place on 1 or 2 April, with the return games on 8 and 9 April.
It is a tough draw for Arsenal and Liverpool who will play each other three times in a week with a league match sandwiched in between the two legs of the quarter-finals. Liverpool are the masters of European soccer and expect them to knock Arsenal out in a low-scoring affair.
The Champions League Quarterfinals are set, well almost as Liverpool and Inter Milan play their second leg in Milan on March 11th with Liverpool traveling to Italy after winning the first leg at home 2-0. There have been some major surprises and some not so major surprises in the 2008 Champions League. Defending champions AC Milan will be watching from home, as they were defeated in the first round of the knockout phase. Two of the surprise teams that have made it to the quarterfinals are Schalke 04 from Germany and Fenerbahçe from Turkey. If Liverpool can get past Inter Milan there will be 4 teams from England’s Premier League in the last 8 teams in the 2008 Champions League Tournament.
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Yesterday we covered the revenues of the top 20 soccer teams in the world in terms of revenue and how that Real Madrid Still Richest Soccer Club in the World . But how do Real Madrid and Manchester United stock up with the largest US sports franchises like the New York Yankees and Washington Redskins in terms of revenue?
Lets first look at the annual revenues of the teams in America’s largest leagues. According to Forbes magazine the top 5 baseball teams in terms of revenue are:
- New York Yankees $277 million
- Boston Red Sox $206 million
For the third straight year Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid topped the list of richest soccer clubs in the world. Three teams from the Premier League made the top five in Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal, while another Spanish League team Barcelona is the other club in the top 5. The list is for the money generated but does not include transfer fees.
Dan Jones the partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, the group that compiled the list, stated, “This is the first time that any country has had three clubs in the top five of the Money League. Arsenal’s move to the Emirates Stadium has transformed their revenues whilst Chelsea’s revenue increase sees them return to the top five.”
Near the end of last week, the EPL, or English Premier League or Premiership (I have been instructed by Brits to never mention Barclay’s), announced its intention to play some of its regular season matches outside of the U.K. Perhaps inspired by the NFL’s decision to play a regular season game in London at Wembley Stadium last year, the EPL is seeking to expand its brand and attract new fans to its product.
For the second time in three years, one of England’s soccer giants is in turmoil because of its American owners. A couple of years it was Manchester United fans who were up in arms over the purchase of the club by the Glazer family.
The Glazers appear to put people in place who understand the sport side of the business and leave them alone. The Tampa NFL franchise is stable and has had only two coaches in the 11+ years that the Glazers have owned the team. At United the Glazers appear to have delivered the money whenever Alex Ferguson wants to buy a new player.
Well at the end of super Sunday in England, Arsenal and Manchester United solidified there positions as the top two teams in the country. When the dust had settled after two intriguing games the table looks like this:
- Arsenal – 40 points
- Man Utd – 39 points
- Chelsea – 34 points
- Liverpool – 30 points (Liverpool have a game in hand over the other three)
Each of the big three have now played each other once and the results have had an impact on the table. The head to head table is:
- Man. Utd – 7 points