Deloitte reveal more than half of world’s 20 richest clubs are in Premier League | Soccer

For the first time in history more than half of the world’s 20 richest clubs are from the Premier League, according to the latest annual Football Money League report.

Manchester City remain top of the list, compiled by the accounting firm Deloitte, with revenues of £619m from the 2021-22 season – just ahead of Real Madrid (£604m) in second. However, the most notable rise sees Liverpool (£594m) climb four places to third and rise above Manchester United for the first time in the report’s 27-year history.

Liverpool increased their revenues by £106.9m last season, largely off the back of additional broadcast income from reaching the Champions League final and being one of a handful of clubs to report more than £95m in matchday incomes, as fans returned following the pandemic.

Elsewhere Barcelona Femení top Deloitte’s inaugural women’s football money league list, with £6.7m of revenues, ahead of Manchester United (£5.3m) in second and Manchester City (£4.5m) in third.

However it is the broader financial superiority of the Premier League which makes for the most eye catching news, with 11 of its clubs now in the top 20. It is the first time a single country has made up more than half the teams in the money league .

“That dominance is unprecedented,” Zal Udwadia, assistant director at Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told the Guardian. “It is really down to the investment you are seeing in the Premier League, its global appeal and the growth in the broadcast rights. Other leagues have explored measures to bridge that gap, including private equity investment, but it is growing.

“And if you expand the rankings to include the top 30, there are 16 Premier League clubs in there. It is only a matter of time that all 20 top-flight English teams feature in the top 30.”

Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, who lie in eighth, ninth and 10th place respectively, also make the top 10, while West Ham, Leicester, Leeds, Everton and Newcastle are all in the top 20.

Outside of the Premier League, Barcelona and Real Madrid have yet to recover revenue to their pre-pandemic levels, with the Spanish clubs’ revenues down €203m (£177m) and €43m (£38m) respectively from 2018-19.

Barcelona Women in action.
Barcelona Femení tops Deloitte’s inaugural annual women’s football money league list. Photograph: Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said the results raised questions about whether the Premier League would ever be caught. “The Premier League continues to appeal to millions of global followers and its member clubs have a greater revenue advantage over international rivals,” he said. “The question now is whether other leagues can close the gap, likely by driving the value of future international media rights, or if the Premier League will be virtually untouchable, in revenue terms.

“Commercial partner, fan and investor interest in the Premier League appears higher than ever before,” he added. “While this suggests optimism for further growth, continued calls for greater distribution of the financial wealth of English clubs across the football system and the impact of a cost-of-living crisis makes it all the more important for the game’s stakeholders to keep a clear focus on their responsibility as stewards of leading clubs.”

Deloitte’s report was published just hours after the outgoing Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli warned that the dominance of the Premier League was bad for the rest of Europe. “I believed and still believe that European soccer needs structural reforms to tackle the future,” said Agnelli, one of the architects of a failed attempt to set up a breakaway European Super League together with other top clubs in 2021.

“Otherwise we are heading for inexorable decline for football in favor of a dominant league, the Premier League, which over a few years will attract all the European talent and marginalize the others.”

According to Deloitte, the total revenue for the world’s top 20 men’s clubs in 2021/22 was £8bn, an increase of 13% compared to 2021 – powered by the return of supporters after two Covid-hit seasons and the rise in commercial revenue from English clubs.

For the top women’s clubs in the money list, average revenues were £1.8m. However, Bridge said that he was broadly optimistic about the future of the women’s game.

“The women’s professional game is still near the start of its journey,” he said. “But major international tournaments in the past four years have drawn record-breaking audiences to women’s football, spurring clubs and leagues around the world to focus more determinedly on developing the women’s game.

“Revenues generated by top clubs at this early stage indicate the significant value that women’s sides will bring to clubs in future seasons, as their popularity and success continues to grow,” he added.

Deloitte’s research found that clubs were looking to differentiate the commercial proposition of their men’s and women’s teams, but that more still needed to be done to increase revenues.

“The future growth of the women’s game will rely on resilient strategies that include details on the value clubs and leagues are looking to drive from brand partnerships, both individually and as a collective, and the structure of commercial rights,” said Zoe Burton, director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

“Drawing new revenues into the women’s game will propel a virtuous circle, generating investment to fund club infrastructure, player wages, grassroots initiatives, and more, that will support growth in the women’s game for years to come.”

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