Manchester City have retained their status as the world’s richest football club, according to the latest edition of the Deloitte Football Money League, which underlines the dominance of the Premier League.
Abu Dhabi-owned City topped the annual list, which is based on revenue in the 2021-22 season, for a second year in a row, ahead of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal were among six Premier League teams in Deloitte’s top 10, while English clubs comprise more than half of the top 20 for the first time in the report’s 26-year history.
City became the first team other than Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona to top the Football Money League in last year’s ranking of the world’s richest football clubs as their revenue proved more resilient to the headwinds of the pandemic.
They held onto that spot in 2021-22 when revenue increased to €731m (£619m), more than half of which was derived from sponsorship and other commercial partnerships, and they won the Premier League for the fourth time in five seasons.
“Part of it is down to the on-pitch success City have had, which creates a virtuous cycle,” Zal Udwadia, assistant director of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group, told City A.M. “Traditional powerhouses like Madrid and Barcelona have struggled.
“Manchester City only broke into the top five in 2015-16 so they have had a remarkable ascent. Last season they had the highest commercial revenue in the Premier League, so they are on track to maintain their position as a top five Football Money League club in the future.”
City’s sharp revenue growth has come under the spotlight owing to their sponsorship by Abu Dhabi-owned entities such as Etihad Airways.
Football authorities including the Premier League have scrutinised their stance that all deals are at fair market value.
“There’s a process ongoing with that and that’s all we can say at this point,” said Udwadia.
Premier League dominates world’s richest football clubs list
Liverpool broke into the top three of the world’s richest football clubs for the first time, with revenue of €702m (£594m), as they challenged for four trophies and financially-stricken Barcelona slipped to seventh place.
West Ham, Leicester City, Leeds United, Everton and Newcastle United also made the top 20, while 16 of the Premier League’s 20 teams ranked in the top 30.
“The Premier League is in a league of its own compared to other leagues,” added Udwadia. “If anything, the gap will increase because the Premier League is the only one to report an increase in TV rights sales in the last cycle.”
European football continues to bounce back from the pandemic, with the combined revenues of the top 20 clubs in the Football Money League increasing 13 per cent to €9.2bn (£7.8bn).
But the report’s authors said the extent of financial hangover for some clubs remained to be seen.
“It really depends how well clubs have managed cash flow, and certain clubs have had to take out loans or look for investment because of the pandemic,” said Udwadia.
“It’s probably too early to say how it has impacted the bottom line of clubs but from a revenue point of view we are back to pre-pandemic levels.”
World’s richest football clubs 2023: Deloitte Football Money League full ranking
1. Manchester City €731m / £619.1m
2. Real Madrid €713.8m / £604.5m
3. Liverpool €701.7m / £594.3m
4. Manchester United €688.6m / £583.2m
5. Paris Saint-Germain €654.2m / £554m
6. Bayern Munich €653.6m / £553.5m
7. FC Barcelona €638.2m / £540.5m
8. Chelsea €568.3m / £481.3m
9. Tottenham Hotspur €523m / £442.8m
10. Arsenal €433.5m / £367.1m
11. Juventus €400.6m / £339.3m
12. Atletico Madrid €393.9m / £333.6m
13. Borussia Dortmund €356.9m / £302.2m
14. Inter Milan €308.4m / £261.2m
15. West Ham United €301.2m / £221.5m
16. AC Milan €264.9m / £224.4m
17. Leicester City €252.2m / £213.6m
18. Leeds United €223.4m / £189.2m
19. Everton €213.7m / £181m
20. Newcastle United €212.3m / £179.8m