Real Madrid v Barcelona: Why El Clasico is richest fixture in football

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Real Madrid face Barcelona in the league clash at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on November 21. It is the 230th edition of El Clásico and it could be on the course to break records for a major sporting event.

The two biggest clubs in the world will be looking for nothing less than a win, irrespective of the situation or competition. With only 11 games into the start of the 2015-16 season, the clash between Real and Barcelona is arguably the most important fixture in Spain.

Luis Enrique’s side are leading the league table with 27 points after 11 matches and the Spanish capital club are three points behind them. A victory for the latter will see them move on top of the table.

On the other hand, a win for the treble winners will give them a six-point cushion, which in terms of the Spanish top flight competition, is enormous.

Real will be gunning for blood in front of their home support, with the Los Blancos having watched their fierce rivals secure a stunning treble with envy last season. They are the two of the most successful teams in the sport and have the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing for these two teams. The stage is set.

It doesn’t get much bigger than El Clásico, with Messi and Ronaldo’s ongoing duel just one of a number of fascinating side-plots in a game of real magnitude. The latest round of Real Madrid v Barcelona will arguably be the most lucrative game in the sport.

Transfer Fees

The world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale, will be a part of proceedings on Saturday after he declared himself fit for the clash. The Welsh international was signed from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £85.6m in 2013. The two predicted starting line-ups could gets closer to £1b, with this set to be the priciest match in history of football.

Real and Barcelona have four of the five most expensive players ever. With a price-tag of £80m, Real talisman Ronaldo sits just behind teammate Bale in terms of money spent.

Luis Suarez joined the Catalan club from Liverpool last summer for a fee of £65m and is the third most expensive player ever in the history of football.  He is followed by the Colombian international James Rodriguez, who was signed by Real from AS Monaco after having a successful spell with the national side during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He cost them around £63m.

Club Revenues

Real topped the Deloitte football rich list for a 10th consecutive year back in January with $584.5m (£382.4m) in revenues, while their arch-rivals are fourth this year with $515.5m (£337.3m)

Only Bayern Munich and Manchester United could separate the Spanish giants on the list. While there are signs the Old Trafford outfit could challenge for first place in the coming years, the Spanish royalty Real have utterly dominated.

Ticket Prices

The cheapest ticket for Saturday’s game on Viagogo – one of the major marketplaces for live events – currently stands at £155, while VIP tickets cost close to £1600, such is the overwhelming demand. These numbers will increase as we get closer and closer to match-day.

According to Viagogo, that demand for tickets increases year-after-year by 36%, and was in March the most popular overseas sporting event for sports fans in the US.

Global Popularity

El Clásico will once again be broadcast all over the world, with a global audience exceeding 400 million expected to tune in.

Football has never been more popular following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, especially in the US. The national team’s terrific performances has encouraged more fans to join the throng.

“Soccer fever has been growing in the US since the World Cup last summer and demand for El Clásico is currently outstripping even the Champions League Final” said a viagogo spokesperson in March.

The most prestigious fixture in the football calendar has never been bigger, or more important. El Clásico will be the most lucrative 90 minutes of football this season, and potentially in history, with the sport’s biggest superstars’ every action to reach all corners of the globe and the eyes of millions.

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