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Underdogs and Giants: How market values shape the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group-stage landscape

The first Champions League group-stage matches are set to kick-off next Tuesday. The upcoming season will be the final edition of the tournament with the current format featuring 32 teams divided into 8 separate groups. Significant changes are on the horizon for the 2024/25 season, where the competition will expand to include 36 teams distributed across 4 pots, each containing 9 teams.

In this SportingPedia report we examine the market values of each participating team and analyze their respective shares of the group’s total value. Our objective was to assess how the teams within each group compare in terms of their overall worth. We sought to identify the most significant disparities and pinpoint which groups exhibit the highest and lowest levels of competitiveness when it comes to market value. To accomplish this, we collected data on the current market values of all the participating teams and subsequently calculated the cumulative values for each group.

The graphic reveals the four groups where the leaders enjoy a majority stake of over 50% and how balanced some others are. It also shows that the combined market value of the teams in all eight groups exceeds €1 billion, with one barely making it and two going even beyond the €2 billion mark.

Groups with the Highest Market Value

In the 2023/24 Champions League season, Groups F and A stand out as the leaders, both boasting a combined market value exceeding €2 billion. Notably, only Group F has earned the title “The Group of Death.” The main reason for that lies behind the fact that the teams who were drawn there have more balanced shares in terms of market value, when compared to those in Group А.

In Group F, PSG with an estimate of €1,080 million has the biggest share with 40.4% of the total, while the lowest valued team Borussia Dortmund holds 17.5%. Bayern Munich at 43% and Manchester United at 42.3% look like the strongest contenders to qualify from Group А. The other two teams that were drawn there are Galatasaray and Copenhagen. The Danes are responsible for as little as 3% of the group’s total market value, which is also the lowest portion of a single team in any group.

Groups with the Lowest Market Value

Group E which contains the teams of Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Feyenoord and Celtic is the one with lowest combined value at €1,053 million. This figure is lower than the value of the squad of Manchester City alone. The highest valued team in Group E is Atletico Madrid with a total of €442 million, which forms 42% of its combined value, while the Scottish champion Celtic contributes just 11.5%.

The only other Champions League group this season which does not exceed €1.3 billion combined market value is H. There, the value of the Spanish champion Barcelona alone represents 62% of the total estimate of €1296.7 million.

The Middle Ground

Real Madrid, Napoli, Union Berlin, and Braga find themselves in Group C, which ranks third in combined market value in the tournament. Undoubtedly, Real Madrid and Napoli are the top favorites to advance from this group, as both Union Berlin and Braga are valued below the €200 million mark.

Group B is about to witness some very close games. There Arsenal who returns to the elite continental competition after a prolonged spell will meet Sevilla, Lens and PSV. The Gunners are ahead of the rest when it comes to market value with a squad estimation of over €1 billion. This is almost 65% of the share, while the other three participants have pretty close portions, varying from PSV’s 11.1% to Sevilla’s 12.4%.

Last season’s runner up Inter was drawn in Group D, along with the likes of Real Sociedad, Benfica and Red Bull Salzburg. The Nerazzurri’s task of finishing within the top two places do not look easily achievable. They hold a share of 35.6% of the group’s entire value, which is too low to give them the role of the favourite. Notably, the gap between the lowest and highest valued teams in Pot D stands at 21.4%, marking the narrowest such margin in the entire competition.

The Champions League’s defending champion Manchester City leads the way in Group G with a value of €1.18 billion. Pep Guardiola’s team has a 68.9% of the entire group’s estimation – the largest share in the whole tournament.