Real Madrid top latest Deloitte Football Money League as Premier League clubs slip down rankings; Liverpool drop from third to seventh, Man City are second and Man Utd slip from fourth to fifth despite healthier revenue figure than season before; Barcelona Femeni top-earning women’s club
Image: Real Madrid top the latest Deloitte Football Money League rankings
Liverpool, Man Utd and Man City have all slipped down the rankings in the latest Deloitte Football Money League as clubs from continental Europe – including new leaders Real Madrid – gained ground.
Liverpool have had the biggest fall of any club in the top 20, from third place down to seventh, after Deloitte found their revenue had dropped slightly from £594.3m to £593.8m.
Deloitte attributed that fall to the Reds’ on-field performance, with the club finishing fifth in the Premier League last season and bowing out in the Champions League last 16.
Manchester United dropped one place to fifth despite a healthier revenue figure than the season before, while treble winners Manchester City were leapfrogged by Real Madrid and now sit second, despite posting a record Premier League revenue figure in their most recent accounts.
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The Money League looks at revenue figures reported in clubs’ annual accounts for the 2022-23 season and does not look at operating costs.
Tottenham and Chelsea switched places compared to last year, with Spurs up one place to eighth, while Arsenal held on to 10th position.
Real led the way with revenue of £723m in 2022-23, demonstrating the club are doing well out of European football’s current ecosystem, despite their president Florentino Perez being arguably the most staunch advocate for a Super League.
Paris Saint-Germain enter the top three for the first time, while Barcelona moved up three places to seventh with a revenue figure of £696m.
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Tim Bridge, the lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “There is a point in time, a moment here, where you’ve got Real Madrid and Barcelona redeveloping their stadiums, they have made moves towards controlling much more of their operations, particularly merchandising and licensing, so those revenue figures are a result of direct changes they have made to their business model.
“When we look at the Premier League holistically we’re not 100 per cent certain the days of significant domestic growth in media rights is over, but what we can say is, without significant competition coming into that market, then single-figure percentage growth is the likely outcome in that domestic market. Therefore the focus is on what can be done in the international market.
“What has always underpinned the fact there have been 10 or 11 Premier League clubs in the Money League has been that the media rights growth has given them significant distributions. Other leagues have caught up and there has been a slight plateauing of Premier League rights.”
Deloitte said the top 20 clubs had earned 10.5bn euros (£9bn) collectively, a 14 per cent increase on the previous season.
Barcelona Femeni were the top-earning women’s club in the world, with revenue rising by 74 per cent to £11.6m. Manchester United Women are second ahead of Real Madrid in third. Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea are fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
‘Man Utd could outplay competition with Old Trafford upgrade’
According to Bridge, modernising Old Trafford and improving the matchday experience could help Manchester United achieve “revolutionary” growth in revenue.
The Red Devils may have gone a decade without a Premier League title and 15 years without winning the Champions League, but commercially they remain a success story.
Bridge hailed their enduring ability to generate revenue despite their on-field struggles, but believes upgrading Old Trafford could elevate them above their Premier League and European peers in commercial terms.
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“What is so impressive (about United) is that resilience, that ability to continue to generate significant commercial return in the market, to find new (commercial) partners,” he said.
“They have this way to engage with commercial partners in a way that few other clubs can.
“But you could also flip it around and also talk about what is the scale of the opportunity if they got it right. There have been a lot of reports around the current conditions at Old Trafford, there has been a lot of comparison to other football stadiums and the overall offering.
“I genuinely believe that if they had a genuine matchday offering that kept the fans in and around the stadium in the way that you have at somewhere like Tottenham, the results from a revenue perspective could be revolutionary and really outplay the rest of the competition.
“Because they still generate £100m-plus from Old Trafford and yet in experience terms, compared to what is also available on the market, or what may be available on the market from a Real Madrid or a Barcelona in the future, then the two are probably not comparable.
“So the strength of their brand, the strength of their fanbase, the loyalty is absolutely incredible and is extremely resilient and impressive.”
Ineos is set to invest £235m ($300m) on club infrastructure after securing a 25 per cent stake in United.
Supporters have issued a number of complaints about the stadium, highlighting in particular leaks in its roof.