United's next set of annual results are expected to show a steep increase driven by a new kit deal with Adidas (Source: Getty)
Manchester United are poised to reclaim the title of the world’s richest club – a status enjoyed by Real Madrid for the past 11 seasons – despite their turbulent recent on-field fortunes.
United have fallen one place to third in the latest Deloitte Football Money League – the annual ranking of the world’s top revenue-generating clubs, published today – behind Real and Barcelona.
The 20-time English champions, whose manager Louis van Gaal is currently under pressure amid another underwhelming campaign, suffered from missing out on lucrative Champions League participation in 2014-15.
But their return to Europe’s top club competition this term and the advent of a new £75m-a-year kit deal with Adidas means they are expected to overtake the Spanish juggernauts in Deloitte’s next list.
“United look well-set to make it to No1,” Dan Jones, head of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told City A.M.
“The reason Manchester United is able to generate such huge revenues even when they’re having a bumpy time on the pitch for a year or two is because they’ve got 20 years of incredible success and a longer history of success before that. The gains are hard-won over a long period.”
United recorded revenue of €519.5m (£395.2m), down from €518m (£433.2m) in 2013-14 – well short of Real’s €577m (£439m) and Champions League winners Barcelona’s €560.8m (£426.5m).
Merely qualifying for the Champions League group stage is typically worth at least £30m to English clubs, who also benefit from guaranteed income of between £60m and £100m for Premier League participation.
“Despite a reduction in revenue year-on-year, the fact that United remain in the top three of the Money League demonstrates the underlying strength of the club’s business model,” added Deloitte’s Tim Bridge.
“The return to Champions League football, as well as the commencement of a number of significant commercial partnerships, will only strengthen the business in 2015-16.”
United are one of five English sides in the top 10 of this year’s Football Money League, along with local rivals Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, who again occupy positions six to nine.
Premier League teams’ extraordinary financial clout is reflected by the presence of nine representatives in the top 20 and 17 in the top 30 – record figures in the 19-year history of the list.
English clubs benefited from a 10 per cent strengthening of sterling against the Euro, while their advantage is only set to be increased by yet more lucrative television contracts which start next season.
Bayern Munich slipped two places to fifth, as revenue dipped slightly to €474m (£360.6m) despite winning the German title. French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who earned €480.8m (£365.8m) climbed to fourth.
United – currently lie fifth domestically and out of the Champions League after a group stage exit, should remain in the rich list top three even if their wait for a first Premier League title since 2013 continues.
“I think as long as they’re in the Champions League I don’t think they’re in any danger of being anywhere other than the top three,” Jones added. “If they were to be not in the Champions League and that was more than a one-off, then that top-three placing becomes vulnerable.”
World's 20 richest clubs in depth
(Click or press on the buttons below for an in depth look at each of the top 20 teams)
Data from Deloitte Football Money League 2016. All figures for the 2014/15 season have been translated at the average exchange rate for the year ending 30 June 2015 (£1 = €1.3145)
1. Real Madrid
Real retained top spot in the Football Money League for the 11th year in succession having increased revenue once again in 2014-15, despite losing their Champions League and Copa del Rey titles to arch-rivals Barcelona, who also pipped them to La Liga.
Matchday Revenue: €129.8m (£98.8m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €199.9m (£152.1m)
Commercial Revenue: €247.3m (£188.1m)
Total Revenue: €577m (£439m)
2. FC Barcelona
Barca enjoyed a 16 per cent increase in revenue in 2014-15, lifting them above Manchester United and back into second place in the Football Money League, following a season in which they swept to a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble.
Matchday Revenue: €116.9m (£88.9m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €199.8m (£152m)
Commercial Revenue: €244.1m (£185.7m)
Total Revenue: €560.8m (£426.6m)
3. Manchester United
United may be set to reclaim top spot in the 2017 Football Money League, but they fell to third in this year’s list as the absence of Champions League action in 2014-15 inflicted double-digit decreases on both match-day and broadcast revenue.
Matchday Revenue: €114m (£86.7m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €141.6m (£107.7m)
Commercial Revenue: €263.9m (£200.8m)
Total Revenue: €519.5m (£395.2m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain
PSG grew revenue slightly in a landmark 2014-15 season that saw them win a domestic treble and reach the last eight of the Champions League. Those earnings, swelled by world-leading commercial income of €297m, lifted the Qatar-backed team to fourth in the Football Money League.
Matchday Revenue: €78m (£59.3m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €105.8m (£80.5m)
Commercial Revenue: €297m (£226m)
Total Revenue: €480.8m (£365.8m)
5. Bayern Munich
Bayern won the Bundesliga at a canter again in 2014-15 yet slipped to their lowest position in the Football Money League since 2007. Revenues dipped slightly, notably from commercial streams, where other European giants made ground on the Germans.
Matchday Revenue: €89.8m (£68.3m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €106.1m (£80.7m)
Commercial Revenue: €278.1m (£211.6m)
Total Revenue: 474m (£360.6m)
6. Manchester City
An unremarkable season on the pitch in which they failed to defend Premier League and League Cup titles only slightly slowed City’s rapid revenue growth in 2014-15. Their €463.5m (£352.6m) was still a club record and kept them sixth in the Football Money League.
Matchday Revenue: €57m (£43.4m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €178m (£135.4m)
Commercial Revenue: €228.5m (£173.8m)
Total Revenue: €463.5m (£352.6m)
The Gunners defended the FA Cup in 2014-15 and that success was mirrored by revenue gains which lifted them one place in the Football Money League. Some 85 per cent of their increased income came from commercial streams, notably a new kit deal with Puma.
Matchday Revenue: €132m (£100.4m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €167.7m (£127.6m)
Commercial Revenue: €135.8m (£103.3m)
Total Revenue: €435.5m (£331.3m)
They might have reclaimed the Premier League and won the League Cup but Chelsea’s 2014-15 revenues were hit by a last-16 Champions League exit – they reached the semis the previous season – and slipped behind rivals Arsenal in the Football Money League.
Matchday Revenue: €93.1m (£70.8m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €178.2m (£135.6m)
Commercial Revenue: €148.7m (£113.1m)
Total Revenue: €420m (£319.5m)
The almost-Premier League winning exploits of the previous campaign paid dividends in 2014-15, as Liverpool saw revenue increase by 17 per cent thanks to improved match-day and broadcast earnings related to their return to the Champions League.
Matchday Revenue: €75m (£57.1m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €163.8m (£124.6m)
Commercial Revenue: €153m (£116.4m)
Total Revenue: €391.8m (£298.1m)
Juve won Serie A for a fourth consecutive season, added a record 10th Coppa Italia title and reached the Champions League final in 2014-15, helping boost revenue by 16 per cent and cementing their place in the Football Money League top 10.
Matchday Revenue: €51.4m (£39.1m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €199m (£151.4m)
Commercial Revenue: €73.5m (£55.9m)
Total Revenue: €323.9m (£246.4m)
11. Borussia Dortmund
Despite a turbulent 2014-15 season in which they started disastrously before salvaging seventh place in the Bundesliga and bade farewell to coach Jurgen Klopp, Dortmund posted record revenues, yet the gap between them and the Football Money League top 10 widened.
Matchday Revenue: €54.2m (£41.2m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €82.1m (£62.5m)
Commercial Revenue: €144.3m (£109.8m)
Total Revenue: €280.6m (£213.5m)
12. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs recorded a nine per cent increase in revenue in 2014-15, thanks largely to a new five-year shirt sponsorship deal with insurers AIA, to climb one place in the Football Money League. On-field they finished fifth domestically and reached the League Cup final.
Matchday Revenue: €54.2m (£41.2m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €125.2m (£95.3m)
Commercial Revenue: €78.1m (£59.4m)
Total Revenue: €257.5m (£195.9m)
13. Schalke 04
The Gelsenkirchen outfit grew revenue marginally and climbed one place in the Football Money League despite a lukewarm 2014-15 season in which Schalke finished outside out of the Bundesliga’s top four for the first time in five years.
Matchday Revenue: €39.2m (£29.8m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €72.6m (£55.2m)
Commercial Revenue: €107.9m (£82.1m)
Total Revenue: €219.7m (£167.1m)
14. AC Milan
AC Milan suffered the largest fall in revenue of any leading club – 20 per cent – as the Rossoneri felt the pinch from a lack of European competition. Having dropped out of the Football Money League top 10 for the first time last year they slipped another two places.
Matchday Revenue: €22.3m (£17m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €79.7m (£60.6m)
Commercial Revenue: €97.1m (£73.9m)
Total Revenue: €199.1m (£151.5m)
15. Atlético de Madrid
The Spanish capital’s second team grew income by 10 per cent in 2014-15 despite failing to match the previous season’s landmark La Liga triumph, yet their total revenue is merely a third of their two biggest rivals, Football Money League top two Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Matchday Revenue: €37.2m (£28.3m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €86.6m (£65.9m)
Commercial Revenue: €63.3m (£48.1m)
Total Revenue: €187.1m (£142.3m)
16. AS Roma
The financial significance of qualifying for the Champions League was underlined by Roma’s 42 per cent revenue growth, which was driven by their return to the competition in 2014-15 and lifted them back into the Football Money League top 20.
Matchday Revenue: €30.4m (£23.1m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €114m (£86.7m)
Commercial Revenue: €36m (£27.4m)
Total Revenue: €180.4m (£137.2m)
17. Newcastle United
The Magpies climbed two places in the Football Money League despite recording a drop in revenue (in sterling) in 2014-15, as they endured a difficult campaign that saw them only avoid relegation to the second tier on the last day of the season.
Matchday Revenue: €35.2m (£26.8m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €101.4m (£77.1m)
Commercial Revenue: €32.7m (£24.9m)
Total Revenue: €169.3m (£128.8m)
A slight increase in revenue, following a run to the last 16 of the Europa League and despite a mid-table finish in the 2014-15 Premier League as well as early cup exits, lifted the Toffees two places in the Football Money League.
Matchday Revenue: €24.6m (£18.7m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €114.1m (£86.8m)
Commercial Revenue: €26.4m (£20.1m)
Total Revenue: €165.1m (£125.6m)
Flat revenues for 2014-15 dragged Inter, who were in the Football Money League top 10 just four years ago, further down the pecking order. A failure to qualify for this season’s European competition will dent their chances of improving in the 2017 list.
Matchday Revenue: €22.2m (£16.9m)
Broadcasting Revenue: €97.2m (£74m)
Commercial Revenue: €45.4m (£34.5m)
Total Revenue: €164.8m (£125.4m)
20. West Ham United
The Hammers are back in the Football Money League top 20 after a nine-year absence following a five per cent growth in revenue during 2014-15. That was driven by increased broadcast income but also helped by a club-record commercial deal with Betway.