According to Football Money League’s latest annual report, for the first time in history more than half of the world’s 20 richest clubs are from the Premier League.
Manchester City remain top of the list, compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte, with revenues of £619m from the 2021-22 season – just ahead of Real Madrid (£604m) in second. However, the most notable increase sees Liverpool (£594m) rise four places and Manchester United move up for the first time in the report’s 27-year history.
Liverpool increased their income by £106.9m last season, largely on the back of extra broadcast income from reaching the Champions League final and being one of a handful of clubs to report more than £95m in matchday income, as fans returned after the pandemic.
elsewhere Barcelona Femini Top Deloitte’s inaugural Women’s Football Money League list, with revenues of £6.7m, ahead of Manchester United (£5.3m) in second and Manchester City (£4.5m) in third.
Although it is the Premier League’s wider financial superiority that makes for the most heartening news, 11 of its clubs are now in the top 20. This is the first time that one country has made up more than half of the teams in the Money League. .
“That dominance is unprecedented,” Jal Udwadia, assistant director of Deloitte’s sports business group, told the Guardian. “It really depends on the investment you see in the Premier League, its global appeal and the growth in broadcast rights. Other leagues have looked at ways to bridge that gap, including private equity investment, but it’s growing.
“And if you extend the rankings to include the top 30, there are 16 Premier League clubs. It’s only a matter of time before all 20 top-flight English teams are included in the top 30.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, ranked eighth, ninth and tenth respectively, are also in the top 10, while West Ham, Leicester, Leeds, Everton and Newcastle are in the top 20.
Outside the Premier League, Barcelona and Real Madrid have yet to recover revenues to their pre-pandemic levels, with the Spanish clubs’ revenues falling to €203m (£177m) and €43m (£38m) respectively from 2018-19.
Tim Bridges, principal partner in Deloitte’s sports business group, said the results raised questions about whether the Premier League would ever catch up. “The Premier League continues to appeal to millions of global followers and its member clubs have a huge revenue advantage over their international rivals,” he said. “The question now is whether other leagues can close the gap by driving up the value of future international media rights, or if the Premier League will be virtually untouched in revenue terms.
“Commercial partners, fans and investors are more interested in the Premier League than ever before,” he added. “This suggests optimism for further growth, but continued calls for a greater distribution of English clubs’ financial assets across the football system and the impact of the cost of living crisis make it all the more important to keep the game’s stakeholders clear. Focus on their responsibilities as stewards of major clubs.
Deloitte’s report was published after outgoing Juventus president Andrea Agnelli warned that the Premier League’s dominance was bad for the rest of Europe. “I believed and still believe that European football needs structural reforms to face the future,” said Agnelli, one of the architects of the failed attempt to establish a breakaway European Super League with other top clubs in 2021.
“Otherwise we are heading for an intolerable decline for football in favor of a dominant league, the Premier League, which in a few years will attract all the European talent and marginalize others.”
According to Deloitte, the world’s top 20 men’s clubs had a total revenue of £8 billion in 2021/22, a 13% increase on 2021 – driven by the return of supporters after two Covid-hit seasons and the resulting increase in commercial revenue. English clubs.
For the top women’s clubs in the money list, the average revenue was £1.8 million. However, Bridges said he was broadly optimistic about the future of the women’s game.
“The women’s professional game is still close to starting its journey,” he said. “But over the past four years major international tournaments have drawn record-breaking audiences for women’s football, prompting clubs and leagues around the world to focus more strongly on the development of the women’s game.
“The revenue generated by the top clubs at this early stage indicates the significant value that women’s sides will bring to clubs in future seasons, as their popularity and success continue to grow,” he added.
Deloitte’s research found that clubs were trying to differentiate the commercial offering of their men’s and women’s teams, but more needed to be done to increase revenue.
“The future growth of the women’s game will depend on flexible strategies which seek to drive the value clubs and leagues individually and collectively, and from brand partnerships through commercial rights structures,” said director Joe Burton. In Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
“Attracting new revenues to the women’s game will foster a virtuous circle, generating investment in club infrastructure, player remuneration, grassroots initiatives, and further funding, which will support the growth of the women’s game for years to come.”