Not all dollars are created equal.

Case in point: FC Barcelona’s board announced Monday that the Spanish soccer team posted revenue of $1.02 billion during its fiscal 2021-22 year with a profit of $98 million. Even better, the board projected that this year it would earn $274 million on revenue of $1.26 billion.

Could Barcelona, currently valued at $5 billion, threaten the record sports-team revenue of $1.1 billion, posted last season by the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys?


The Cowboys’ revenue is purely from ongoing operations such as TV fees, ticket and premium seating sales, and advertising. In contrast, a big chunk of Barcelona’s revenue—both for 2021-22 and this year—is from selling assets, also known as discontinued operations.

For example, last fiscal year, Barcelona sold 10% of its media rights to the investment firm Sixth Street for $210 million, an amount included in the $1.02 billion revenue figure for 2021-22. Soon after, the soccer team sold another 15% of its media rights to Sixth Street for $320 million, which will be on this year’s books. In addition, Barcelona’s board has approved the sale of 49% of its licensing and merchandising arm for around $200 million, another one-time shot in the revenue arm.

The point here isn’t to suggest that Barcelona is doing anything wrong. On the contrary: We applaud the team’s strategy as it builds its new stadium and continues to use cash to field a superb team, as Barcelona president Joan Laporta explained in a chat with me for YES Network’s Forbes SportsMoney.

All I’m saying is that when looked at through the lens of ongoing operations, Barcelona is still shy of its record revenue of $194 million in 2017-18 and still has a long way to go before it tramples over the Cowboys’ star.