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Real Madrid returns to top Money League ahead of Manchester City

Featured image credit: Joshi Milestoner on Unsplash

Spanish LaLiga club Real Madrid has replaced English Premier League team Manchester City at the top of the Deloitte Football Money League, which details the 20 highest revenue-generating clubs globally for the 2022-23 season.

Money League clubs cumulatively reported record revenues of €10.5bn (£8.96bn/$11.37bn), a 14% increase on the €9.2bn posted in 2021-22. Deloitte said that revenue growth for the 2022-23 season was driven by record matchday (€1.9bn) and commercial (€4.4bn) revenues, with the latter overtaking broadcast revenues.

The figures highlight football’s continued recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, with stadiums remaining open at full capacity across continental Europe during the 2022-23 season.

It marks the first time since 2017-18 that Real Madrid has topped the Money League table. The club posted record revenues of €831m, an increase of €118m.

Manchester City, which won the UEFA Champions League during the 2022-23 season, came in second with record revenue of €826m, followed by Paris Saint-Germain (€802m), Barcelona (€800m) and Manchester United (€746m). It marks the first time that PSG has broken into the top three, while Barcelona is one of the biggest movers, having risen from seventh.

Liverpool (€683m) reported the greatest fall in year-on-year rankings, moving from third to seventh. Liverpool was one of three Money League clubs to report a decline in revenue, with the others being Atlético de Madrid and West Ham United.

Bayern Munich retained sixth place in the table, while Tottenham Hotspur is the highest-ranked London team in eighth, ahead of rivals Chelsea and Arsenal which rounded out the top 10.

Other clubs in the top 20 are Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atlético, Eintracht Frankfurt, Newcastle United, West Ham, Napoli and Olympique Marseille.

Frankfurt, Napoli and Marseille replaced a trio of English clubs in Leicester City, Leeds United and Everton. Leicester and Leeds were both relegated from the Premier League in 2022-23, with Everton surviving the drop on the final day.

For the first time since 2015-16 (excluding the pandemic-affected 2019-20 season), commercial revenue represented the largest income stream for Money League clubs. Seventeen of the top 20 clubs reported a year-on-year increase in commercial revenue, while broadcast revenue only increased by 5%.

Money League clubs reported an average revenue of over €500m, with commercial and broadcast revenue contributing €222m and €213m respectively, followed by matchday revenue (€92m).

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.”

Deloitte has also reported on women’s football clubs and found that average revenues generated by the top 15 teams in Europe stood at €4.3m in 2022-23, a 61% year-on-year increase.

FC Barcelona Femení retained top spot and posted €13.4m in revenue for the 2022-23 season, a 74% year-on-year increase. Manchester United Women retained second place with revenues of €8m, with Real Madrid Femenino (€7.4m) rising to third, Manchester City Women (€5.3m) taking fourth, and Arsenal Women (€5.3m) claiming fifth.

Arsenal Women achieved the highest matchday revenue amongst the 15 clubs, having hosted three of its Women’s Super League matches at Emirates Stadium, with each drawing attendances of over 40,000. The club generated €3.1m in matchday revenue, which represents a huge 58% of its total revenue.

The average revenue of the 15 women’s clubs stood at €4.3m, a 61% increase on 2021-22. Within this, commercial revenue accounted for 58% of clubs’ total revenue, followed by matchday (22%) and broadcast (20%).

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.”

Deloitte’s analysis of women’s clubs focuses on leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It does not include key markets such as Australia, Japan, Scandinavia and the USA, as revenue information was not made available.