Manchester United’s on-field decline has seen them fall out of the top two revenue-generating teams in the Premier League for the first time, according to a new report.
United, who were named the world’s richest football club just five years ago, have now slipped behind their traditional rivals Liverpool as well as neighbours Manchester City, according to Off The Pitch’s Premier League Financial Forecast, which is published today.
City led the way for revenue last season with £608m as Pep Guardiola’s side retained their domestic crown and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, the report says.
Liverpool overtook United for the first time by generating estimated income of £602m from their 2021-22 campaign, which saw them fall short of an unprecedented quadruple but win two cups.
United are forecast to have turned over £581m, still some way ahead of Big Six rivals Chelsea (£461m), Tottenham Hotspur (£428m) and Arsenal (£375m).
Off The Pitch’s report anticipates the financial results of Premier League clubs before they have all been published. The football data analysts’ last report was 99.9 per cent accurate in estimating total revenue.
It forecasts that the Premier League generated record aggregate revenues of £5.4bn last season, around £250m higher than its best pre-Covid-19 figure in 2018-19.
“While fans, sponsors, players, and other stakeholders have to wait almost a year before the financial reports are released, our forecast sheds light on the financial state of the 20 clubs shortly after closing of the accounting period,” said Mads Meisner Christensen, co-founder and chief executive. “We hope that by doing this report we can contribute to a bit more transparency in football.”
The return of fans to stadiums after the pandemic led to record cumulative matchday revenue of £722m, with United and, for the first time, Tottenham individually passing the £100m-mark.
Broadcast income fell by £350m to £3bn due to the previous season’s figures being skewed by deferred payments during the first year of the pandemic.
Commercial revenue increased by £240m to £1.3bn, a rise in part attributed to entry into the market of cryptocurrency-related sponsors.
It continued to be the biggest differentiator between Big Six clubs and the rest, with the former accounting for 77 per cent of the league’s commercial income.
Despite revenues reaching an all-time high, clubs made record estimated pre-tax losses of £590m, the worst of any non-Covid-affected season by more than £400m.
That is attributed to spiralling wage costs which reached £3.5bn, a sum greater than the revenues of any of the Premier League’s rival competitions in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.