GENEVA (AP) – GRAHAM DUNBAR AP Sports Writer Champions League winner Chelsea received ?59.9 million ($73.1 million) in prize money and was the biggest earner in last season's competition, UEFA said on Friday.
Beaten finalist Bayern Munich earned ?41.7 million ($50.9 million) from the ?754 million ($919 million) prize fund which UEFA shared among 32 teams playing in the group stage. Bayern got a further ?2.1 million ($2.6 million) for playing in the playoff round to qualify for the group stage.
Barcelona, which reached the semifinals, earned ?40.6 million ($49.5 million). Barcelona's quarterfinals opponent, AC Milan, was next with ?39.9 million ($48.7 million).
Manchester United was sixth with ?35.2 million ($43 million) even while failing to reach the last-16 knockout round. It added a further ?1.25 million ($1.5 million) from its brief subsequent appearance in the second-tier Europa League.
English clubs are rewarded for valuable national broadcasting deals, which factor into UEFA's calculations.
Still, United led the prize list with ?53.2 million (then $76.7 million) when reaching the final in 2011. Elite clubs can ill afford such a steep drop in earnings as UEFA's financial fair play rules are phased in, requiring them to break even on their football business.
Last season, UEFA paid clubs a basic ?7.2 million ($8.8 million) for taking part in the Champions League groups, plus results-based bonuses and a share of the pooled broadcasting money.
Dinamo Zagreb was bottom of the earnings table, getting ?8.2 million ($10 million) after losing all six matches.
Clubs are set to earn even more for the next three seasons, after UEFA announced that Champions League revenue will rise 22 percent for the 2012-15 commercial sales cycle.
Annual income for the world's most prestigious club competition will be at least ?1.34 billion ($1.63 billion).
The chasm in earnings between the Champions League and Europa League is shown in earnings tables published by UEFA.
Chelsea, Bayern and Barcelona collected almost as much combined as the ?150.4 million ($183.5 million) distributed among 56 clubs taking part in the Europa League groups and knockout stage.
Atletico Madrid earned ?10.5 million ($12.8 million) for winning the second-tier title, edging Schalke which benefited from its share of the German broadcasting deals.
To boost the Europa League's status, UEFA and European clubs have agreed on a ?40 million ($49 million) annual subsidy.
UEFA estimates that the Europa League will be worth ?225 million ($275 million) for each of the next three seasons.
UEFA retains around 20 percent of commercial revenues from its club competitions to cover running costs and make solidarity payments to national federations, leagues and clubs.
The 200-member European Club Association lobby group also gets at least ?2.5 million ($3 million) annual funding.