Man City toppled from Money League summit, despite most successful season

Manchester City has been toppled from the peak of the global Football Money League, despite achieving the most successful year in its history, having clinched the Premier League, FA Cup, and the club’s first Champions League title.

The current Premier League Champions have been deposed by Spanish giants, Real Madrid.

New data showed that Liverpool suffered a major fall in its financial standing, tumbling from third in the rankings last year, to seventh this year, research by Deloitte has shown.

The 27th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League revealed that 20 highest revenue generating clubs in world football earned a record-breaking €10.5bn in the 2022/23 season.

This sum, a 14% increase over the previous year, comes as Money League clubs reported record commercial and matchday revenues of €4.4bn and €1.9bn.

Matchday revenues were driven by the high fan demand for live sport, as stadia once again opened at full capacity across continental Europe during the 2022/23 season.

Real Madrid returned to the top of the Money League (£723m total revenue), followed by Manchester City (£718.2m), Paris Saint-Germain (£697.2m), FC Barcelona (£695.8m) and Manchester United (£648.5m), which dropped one place to fifth in this year’s standings.

Liverpool (£593.8m compared with £594.3m the previous season), was placed seventh due to a downturn in on-pitch results across both domestic and European competitions, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur (£549.2m), Chelseas (£512.5m) and Arsenal (£463.1m) in 10th spot.

Newcastle United jumped from 20th slot last year to 17th with total turnover of £250.3m following its Saudi takeover, while West Ham, which won the UEFA Europa Conference League last season, fell from 15th spot to 18th, with a total turnover of £239.2m.

Commercial revenue represented the largest income stream for Money League clubs for the first time since the 2015/16 season (excluding the COVID-19 impacted 2019/20 season).

Notably, 17 of the top 20 clubs reported a year-on-year increase in commercial revenue, with growth largely attributable to improved retail sales, revenue from non-matchday events and recovery of sponsorship income which had been impacted by the pandemic.

In contrast, broadcast revenues reported by Money League clubs increased by a modest five per cent, with growth limited, in part, by the 2022/23 season falling within existing domestic broadcast cycles.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Another record-breaking year for Money League clubs represents the ongoing financial might of the football industry. A high demand for live sport is pointing towards further growth for commercial and matchday revenues, in particular.

“As clubs appear to no longer be able to rely on exponential broadcast revenue growth, creating a more commercially-focused business model will support them to achieve greater control over their financial stability. This may include developing new merchandise, or non-match day events, such as concerts to create new commercial offerings.”

Bridge added: “In the coming seasons, European clubs may look to further diversify their revenues in order to gain control over a larger proportion of their total revenue. This will enable clubs to not only protect themselves from the variability of on-pitch performance, but also wider challenging macroeconomic conditions and changes to the football system.

“At a time when clubs face a greater degree of financial regulation, striking the right balance between securing the best on-pitch talent with sustaining a sound financial foundation through commercial activities will be key.”

This edition of the Money League includes analysis of 15 of the highest revenue generating women’s clubs in European football.

FC Barcelona Femení remained at the summit of women’s football in Europe in the 2022/23 season, reporting £11.6m in revenue, a year-on-year increase of 74%.

Manchester United Women also retained their position in second place, with revenues of £7m, driven by a strong commercial performance. Meanwhile, Real Madrid Femenino rose to third place as it reported £6.5m in revenue, an increase of 416% over previous year, ahead of Manchester City Women on a total turnover of £4.6m.

Liverpool Women were placed 11th with a total turnover of £1.8m, while neighbours Everton were ranked 13th with £1.1m total turnover.

Amy Clarke, women’s sport lead in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Significant levels of financial growth were recorded in the 2022/23 season across the top-tiers of European women’s football. A rise in the number of women’s matches playing at clubs’ main stadia boosted matchday revenues, while increased viewership and individual partnerships helped to accelerate the commercialisation of the game.

“Women’s football is beginning to tell the tale of growth, but that growth is not confined by a single business model. Each club is exploring its own unique way to maximise revenues within the current structure of the game.

“Given that the women’s game within the mainstream is at a formative stage, there is a real opportunity to define the sport globally through innovative thinking across all aspects of the game, including player welfare, commercial relationships, governance and business models.”