Football all over the world is known as a money-spinning machine. Every year, the goal of the richest football teams in Europe, such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and the likes, remain the same: To be successful both on and off the pitch by playing great football, attracting more fans, winning trophies, attracting the best players and brands to do business with the club, which will guarantee a robust cash flow and liquidity.
Even though the above is not as straight-forward as it sounds, they remain the major goals everywhere football is run, including South Africa, where football has produced great teams with amazing histories of successes. Clubs like Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have been at the top of the richest South African clubs for several years. However, there has been an interesting turn of events.
Over recent years, football clubs with lesser pedigrees have stepped up in the money game and counted among the richest football teams in the country’s football league – the Premier Soccer League (PSL). In the past, when a list of this kind is considered, any football-loving South African would be forgiving if they expected Orlando Pirates to be on the list – even among the first to be mentioned.
However, making money in football has gone past name recognition as more adept and savvy administrators are being recruited to run teams and make footballing decisions. The result of that shift has seen teams like Chippa United FC and Platinum Stars make the Country’s list of the richest football teams. That said, let’s highlight the clubs that rank top among the richest football teams in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) this year.
10. Cape Town Spurs F.C.
- Net Worth: $4.2 million
- Year Founded: 1970
- Nickname: Urban Warriors
- Stadium: Cape Town Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 6
Cape Town Spurs football club was formerly known as Ajax Cape Town F.C. until recently. The Dutch Eredivisie side – AFC Ajax, parented the Parow-based team – they share the same logo, jersey colors, and most importantly, the same philosophy. Founded in 1999 through the merging of two Cape Town-based teams at the time, Seven Stars and Cape Town Spurs, the “Urban Warriors” was formed as part of a wider network of teams, which would serve as a feeder to the parent club in the Netherlands.
True to purpose, the team has seen several of its young stars, including Steven Pienaar (2002), Eyong Enoh (2008), Daylon Claasen (2009), and Thulani Serero (2011), move (or promoted) to AFC Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie. In their first game as a team in the 2019 Iwisa Charity Spectacular, Ajax Cape Town (as the club was called then) wrote its name in the South African football history by defeating an almighty Kaiser Chiefs side by one goal to nil.
In 2013, its original owners, the Moore brothers and the Comitis brothers, parted ways as the latter sold their shares. Six years later, in 2019, the parent club, AFC Ajax, also sold their 51% shares in the club, ending their association with the South African side. In preparation for the 2020/2021 season, Ajax Cape Town F.C. changed its name to Cape Town Spurs F.C.
9. Chippa United F.C.
- Net Worth: $4.4 million
- Year Founded: 2010
- Nickname: Chilli Boys
- Stadium: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium; Buffalo City Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: N/A
Port Elizabeth-based Chippa United F.C. is a relatively new club in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), but its stock is rising. Founded in January 2010, the “Chilli Boys” – owned by Chippa Investment Holdings – has already gained huge popularity for their playing style, which has attracted a massive following for the side. Their home ground is the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and they make this list as the ninth richest football club in the PSL with a net worth value of $4.4 million.
8. Bloemfontein Celtic F.C.
- Net Worth: $5.1 million
- Owner: Max Tshabalala
- Year Founded: 1969
- Nickname (s): Phunya Sele Sele, Siwelele
- Stadium: Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: N/A
Next on the list is the Bloemfontein Celtic Football Club based in Bloemfontein. The “Phunya Sele Sele,” as it is fondly called, was founded by Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane in 1969 but was sold to Petrus Molemela in the 80s. Max Tshabalala is the team’s current owner, and their home matches are played at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.
7. Cape Town City F.C.
- Net Worth: $5.8 million
- Owner: Michel and John Comitis
- Year Founded: 1962
- Nickname (s): The Citizens; Blue and Gold Army
- Stadium: Cape Town Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 2
Cape Town City Football Club has earned its place on this list because of its net worth value of $5.8 million. The club, also known as the “Blue and Gold Army,” was formerly known as Mpumalanga Black Aces before it fell to new ownership and was reformed. After selling their rights in Ajax Cape Town F.C. in 2013, brothers- Michel and John Comitis decided to re-invest by buying up the Mpumalanga Black Aces franchise outrightly, thus relocating the club to Cape Town in 2016.
The new club – Cape Town City F.C. – bagged their first piece of silverware that same year by winning the 2016 Telkom Knockout Cup. Currently, their home games are played at the 55,000 capacity Cape Town Stadium.
6. Platinum Stars F.C.
- Net Worth: $6.1 million
- Owner: Royal Bafokeng Nation
- Year Founded: 1998
- Nickname: Crocodiles
- Stadium: Royal Bafokeng Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 3
It is surprising to learn that Platinum Stars Football Club ranks among the top 10 richest football teams in the PSL. Based in Phokeng in the North West province, the club was formed in 1937 as an amateur side, and in 1998, it gained a new identity under the then-owner, Joseph Mapfulagasha. It gained promotion to the National First Division in 1999 and moved up to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) – for the first time in the club’s history – in the 2003/2004 season. Platinum Stars F.C. is currently owned by the Royal Bafokeng Nation and is nicknamed Dikwena, a Tswana word for ‘Crocodiles.’
5. Orlando Pirates F.C.
- Net Worth: $6.9 million
- Year Founded: 1937
- Nickname(s): Amabhakabhaka; Buccaneers
- Stadium: Orlando Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 33
The Orlando Pirates is one of the traditional football teams in South Africa and undoubtedly one of the richest. Founded in 1937 by a group of immigrant workers, the club was originally dubbed the Orlando Boys Club. With Johannesburg’s Houghton suburb as its home, the “Buccaneers,” or “Pirates” as they are called, have tales of successes both on and off the football pitch.
On the pitch, the team is the only South African team to have won the PSL three times consecutively. Also, they etched their name in the annals of South African football history by winning a domestic treble back to back – a feat they achieved by winning the PSL title, the FA Cup, and the Top 8 Cup in the 2010/2011 season and then retaining the PSL title and Top 8 Cup while adding the League Cup in the 2011/2012 season. The Bucs are also the first South Africa team to win the CAF Champions League in 1995 – a feat only equaled by Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
Off the pitch, Orlando Pirates are the only South African football team to be accorded Superbrand status. The only other South African sports teams to achieve the same feat are the Proteas and the Springboks.
4. Bidvest Wits F.C.
- Net Worth: $7.4 million
- Owner: Lawrence Mulaudzi
- Year Founded: 1921
- Nickname(s): The Students; The Clever Boys
- Stadium: Bidvest Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 12
Bidvest Wits is one of the oldest South African clubs that still play in the PSL, and it is also one of the richest football teams in the nation. The club is based in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and was founded in 1921. It was originally a school team – Wits University F.C. from the University of the Witwatersrand – but morphed into Bidvest Wits, a professional football team in 1921. They are also called “The Students” or “The Clever Boys,” which is supposed to amplify the fact that it was originally a school team.
Although Bidvest Wits was founded decades ago by the Students’ Representative Council of the University of Witwatersrand and joined the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) in 1975, it sold its premier league status at the end of 2019/20 Premier Soccer League season to the Limpopo-based club, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), which Lawrence Mulaudzi owns.
Even though they have been around for a very long time – about 101 years now – the Bidvest Wits were crowned National League champions for the very first time in their history in 2017 after they won the 2016/2017 PSL title.
3. SuperSport United F.C.
- Net Worth: $7.9 million
- Owner: SuperSport
- Year Founded: 1994
- Nickname: Matsatsantsa
- Stadium: Lucas Moripe Stadium; Peter Makoba Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 12
If we are to measure PSL clubs’ successes over the past 25 years, no other club has been more successful than SuperSport United. Founded in 1994, the club has amassed 12 major titles since its inception, including three PSL titles. It is based in Pretoria and was originally known as Pretoria City FC. However, after M-Net bought over the club in 1994, it was placed as a Supersport subsidiary, a part of Multichoice as its media and sports brand. Hence, Pretoria City FC changed to SuperSport United.
The Matsatsantsa, as they a fondly called by their fans, currently alternates its PSL home matches between the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, and the Peter Makoba Stadium located in Polokwane.
2. Kaizer Chiefs F.C.
- Net Worth: $9.1 million
- Owner: Kaizer Motaung
- Year Founded: 1970
- Nickname(s): Amakhosi; Phefani Drama Boys
- Stadium: FNB Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 76
Kaizer Chiefs Football Club is the second richest club in the PSL. But it remains the most successful football club in the country. Even though it has picked up a barren run in recent years, the Yellow and Black club has won over 93 trophies (including unofficial titles) in its 51-year history – a mark no other club has been able to come close to. Nicknamed “Amakhosi” or “Phefani Drama Boys,” Kaizer Chiefs boasts one of the highest fan bases in SA – with over 16 million fans.
The Johannesburg-based football outfit was founded in 1970 by Kaizer Motaung, who is currently its chairman. He derived the name “Kaizer Chiefs” from the combination of his first name and the last name of the Atlanta Chiefs, a club in the North American Soccer League (NASL), where he has played.
Kaizer Chiefs have a competitive edge as a business entity because of their history and a huge fanbase. To demonstrate this, the club recorded the highest home attendance average in the PSL in the 2016-17 season – 13,686. The club is also known to have a great work relationship with Europen clubs and have a good percentage of players who transfer from the club to elite foreign leagues.
1. Mamelodi Sundowns F.C.
- Net Worth: $11 million
- Owner: Patrice Motsepe
- Year Founded: 1970
- Nickname(s): The Brazilians; Bafana baStyle; Kabo Yellow
- Stadium: Loftus Versfeld Stadium; Lucas Moripe Stadium
- Major Trophies Won: 23
Mamelodi Sundowns is the richest football team in the South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL). Not only is it the richest, but it is also one of the most successful, having won a total of 20 major titles in the PSL era. It also holds the record for the most PSL title wins with eleven trophies. Its successes mean that it attracts a huge fan-base. They are known as “The Brazilians” because they adopted the Samba country’s home and away kit as their club jersey colors.
Sundowns was established as a football club in 1970 but was integrated into the National Soccer League (NSL) in 1983. The club is based in Mamelodi in Tshwane in the Gauteng province. It is presently owned by billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, who is equally a major factor in their recent successes. After winning the CAF Champions League in 2016, the club participated in the FIFA Club World Cup Championships that same year and finished in sixth place. To date, they remain the only South African club side to have achieved such a feat.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 10 richest football teams in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) and their net worth:
- Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. – $11 million
2. Kaizer Chiefs F.C. – $9.1 million
3. SuperSport United F.C. – $7.9 million
4. Bidvest Wits F.C. – $7.4 million
5. Orlando Pirates F.C. – $6.9 million
6. Platinum Stars F.C. – $6.1 million
7. Cape Town City F.C. – $5.8 million
8. Bloemfontein Celtic F.C. – $5.1 million
9. Chippa United F.C. – $4.4 million
10. Cape Town Spurs F.C. – $4.2 million