Benfica Turning Record Profits, Sustained Success, With Develop And Sell Strategy

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Benfica helped develop teenage prodigy João Felix and sold him to Atletico Madrid for €120 million … [+] over the summer. Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesNurPhoto via Getty ImagesWinners of five out of the last six Primeira Liga titles and mainstays in the Champions League, SL Benfica is Portugal’s most dominant and resonant team. But how it achieves and sustains that success is what makes the club uniquely proficient in its quest to maintain its status in the top flight of European and world soccer.Like any other soccer business, Benfica focuses on three main areas of revenue, according to CEO Domingos Soares de Oliveira: ticketing, sponsorship and media rights. But in a relatively small country like Portugal, focusing on those three areas alone would make it difficult to keep up with the soccer powers in the continent’s five big countries, England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. “So maybe 10 years ago we decided to go for an extra item [for growth], which is player trading,” Soares de Oliveira said. In September, the Benfica group, which includes other businesses, announced it had reached €300 million in annual revenue for the first time. Benfica also claimed a net profit of €29.4 million, an increase of more than 40% year over year. A major revenue driver lately has been selling players to Europe’s biggest teams. And those players are discovered, developed and cultivated in Benfica’s academy and youth system, which the team invests €10 million in annually, according to Soares de Oliveira.Benfica CEO Domingos Soares de Oliveira. Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty ImagesGetty Images“Youth development and player trading is an essential part of our business,” he said. “We’ve decided that the area where we h

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