Manchester City football club is no stranger to being top. Not only has the club won the Premier League five times in the last decade and currently sit top of this year’s league, but they have just topped the ranks of the most revenue-generating European club of the last year.
That’s according to Deloitte’s just-published 2022 Football Money League report, which is now in its 25th year, and which profiles the highest revenue generating clubs in world football.
In those 25 years that Deloitte’s Sports Business Group has been compiling the Football Money League, the total revenue generated by the highest-earning football clubs has grown over seven-fold, from €1.1bn in the 1996/97 season to €8.2bn in 2020/21. Some 45 clubs from 11 nations have featured in the Money League in that time, with only four clubs finishing top – Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Pandemic impacts revenues, Premier League dominates again
This season saw a total of €8.2bn revenue generated by Money League’s clubs, up less than 1% from 2019/20, but still over €1bn lower than in 2018/2019, in large part thanks to the pandemic.
In fact, clubs have missed out on more than €2 billion of revenue across the last two seasons (2019/20 and 2020/21) with matchday revenue, at €111m, the lowest ever in Money League history owing to the absence of fans in stadia. This season, too, saw a 7% decrease in commercial revenue, at €3.5bn, from its record high of 2019/20, however, there was an increase in broadcast revenue, of €4.6bn, largely due to the deferrals of distributions relating to the completion of the 2019/20 season.
The continued world-leading financial resources of the English Premier League was evident again in this year’s Money League, with over half (11) of the top 20 clubs being from the Premier League, the highest proportion ever. Unsurprising given that the Premier League accounts for almost 50% of spending across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues in the January 2022 transfer window. The remainder of the Money League was made up of three clubs from Spain, two from each of Germany and Italy, and one from France and Russia, respectively.
Despite an ever-changing economic environment, and the devastating impact of the pandemic, the top 14 clubs in this year’s rankings are consistent, but in a slightly rearranged order for the fourth successive year. Notably, this includes 11 of the 12 proposed European Super League founders (excluding AC Milan), with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain not amongst the original participants. The 2022 Money League welcomes four new entrants, including Wolves.
Goals made in diversity, inclusion and sustainability
As football continues to grow in economic importance it is also increasingly embracing its position and amplifying its influence on society, acting as a strong platform for measuring and delivering behavioural change.
From the 17 of the 20 clubs who provided data, on average ethnic minorities make up 15% clubs’ board of directors, with highs of 75%, 60% and 57% at Leicester City, FC Internazionale Milano and Manchester City respectively.
From the clubs who provided data, on average women make up 11% of a clubs’ Board of Directors, with a high of 40% at Juventus.
For the first time ever all of the Money League clubs have a women’s football team.
In recent years there has been an uptick in clubs reporting on their respective sustainability agendas. In particular, five Money League clubs have signed up to the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework, an initiative “aimed at supporting and guiding sports actors in achieving global climate change goals,” with two clubs (Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur) committed to the UN’s Race to Zero initiative.
Top 10 European football clubs with the highest revenue
We have carefully picked apart Deloitte’s Football Money League report to deliver the top 10 European football clubs with the highest revenue, along with their history of generating revenue, their popularity in terms of social media, and their commitment to ESG goals.
1 Manchester City
Revenue Manchester City top the Money League for first time with revenue of £571.1m (€644.9m), becoming only the fourth club to ever top the Money League and ranking above Manchester United for the first time. Revenue increased by £89.5m (€95.7m), up 17% from 2020, as City climb five places from sixth position last year. Revenue was split 52% broadcast, making them number one in this, and 48% commercial, as matchday revenue was zero due to the pandemic.
Since the first year of the Money League, covering the 1996/97 season, Manchester City’s revenue has grown from £12.7m to £571.1m over 25 years. The club entered the money league in the 2007/08 season and has remained in the top 20 in each year since.
Social media While its revenue is high, its social media following is lower than many clubs, ranking eighth in Facebook followers with 40.2 million and ninth on Instagram with 29.1 million.
Diversity While the club has 57% ethnic minority representation on its board, it has no fem ale representation, and is not a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
2 Real Madrid
Revenue Real Madrid ranked second in the Money League for this season with revenue of €640.7m, down 7% on 2020 revenue. Half (50%) of its revenue came courtesy of commercial opportunities, the third highest commercially lucrative team this season, and half (49%) from broadcast, the second highest. Just 1% of revenue was down to matchday. Along with only one other club, Bayern Munich, it’s the only club to generate in excess of €600m revenue in each of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years, supported by strong on-pitch performances and their commercial profile.
Real Madrid has topped the Money League in 12 of 25 editions, more than any other club, and is top of the pile for the combined 2019/20 and 202/21 financial years, generating an average revenue of €666.3m. ranked first in the Money League 12 times. The club topped the Money League for the first time in 2006, becoming only the second club to do so. In 2013, the club passed the €500m revenue mark. They came close to winning in revenue in 2018 but were pipped by Manchester United with just €1.7m separating them, marking the closest battle for first place in Money League history. They returned to first place in 2019 following a two-year hiatus generating record revenue of more than 750m in 2017/18.
Social media Real Madrid tops all European clubs when it comes to social media, ranking first on Facebook (111 million followers), first on Instagram (109.6 million) and first on Twitter (39.9 million). They rank second on YouTube and fifth on TikTok, however.
Diversity The club has not disclosed its diversity and inclusion numbers and is not a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. .
3 Bayern Munich
Revenue Ranking third in this season’s Money League with revenue of €622.4m, down 4% on last season, Bayern Munich is one of just two clubs (Real Madrid is the other) to generate in excess of €600m revenue in each of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years, thanks to strong performances and commercial income. More than half of its revenue (56%) came from commercial opportunities, with the club ranking first in revenue made from commercial, at €345.2m. The remaining revenue came from broadcast (42%) and matchday (2%). Bayern Munich has never won the Money League, but in 2000, did reach second place, the highest position ever achieved by a German club.
Social media The club sees most popularity on Facebook, ranking fourth in the European league with 53.6 million followers, eighth on Instagram (30.8 million) and 11th on Twitter with just 5.9 million.
Diversity The club does not have any ethnic minority or female representation on its board and is not a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
4 FC Barcelona
Revenue This season, FC Barcelona fell to fourth place, with revenue of €582.1m, marking the largest fall in revenue in one season of a club and marking Barcelona’s lowest position since the 2013/14 season. This followed both on-pitch and off-pitch challenges. This season, the club received the second highest revenue from matchday, after Paris Saint Germain, 3% of its total revenue at €25.9m, while 50% of its revenue came from broadcast and 47% from commercial.
Barcelona has ranked first in the money league twice.
Along with Manchester United, Barcelona became the first club to pass the €600m revenue mark, in 2017, and in 2020, became only the third club to top the Money League with aggregate revenue of ML clubs reaching a record high of €9.3bn.
Social media Ranking second only to Real Madrid in its social media popularity, Barcelona has 103.2 million followers on Facebook, 104.9 million on Instagram, and 39.7 million on Twitter. The club does however come out tops, ranking first, on YouTube with 12.9 million.
Diversity While the club’s board has no ethnic minority representation, it does claim to have 5% female representation, but is not a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
5 Manchester United
Revenue This season, Manchester United retains its position in the top five with revenue of €558m, down 4% on last season, but finds itself in its lowest position in Money League history by just €1.8m from Paris Saint-Germain. This is despite finishing second to Manchester City and as Runners-up in the UEFA Europa League. The club’s revenue split is 52% broadcast, 47% commercial and 1% matchday, ranking sixth out of 10 in revenue made from commercial.
Manchester United has ranked first in the Money League 10 times, and was the first-ever club to top the ML ranks in 1998. The club won the treble in 2009, putting them in first place in the 2000 Money League, and in 2004, became the first club to pass the €250m revenue mark.
Social Media When it comes social media popularity, Manchester United may not be top in Europe, but it is top in the British Premier League, across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with 74.9m, 54.5m and 29.5m followers, respectively.
Diversity Manchester United is the most diverse and inclusive of all British Premier League clubs and top in Europe for minority representation with 8% in both ethnic minority and female representation on its board. It isn’t however yet a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
6 Paris Saint Germain
Revenue Paris Saint Germain is on the up, ranking sixth this season with revenue of €556.2m, up 3%on last season, but down on 2019 when it pulled in €636m. The club did accrue the highest revenue from matchday performances this season, bringing in €17m, 3% of its revenue, while its commercial revenue was also significantly high, at €337.4m, and second-highest only to Bayern Munich.
Paris Saint Germain reached fourth place in the money league in 2016, the highest position achieved by a French club (€481m).
Social media Paris Saint Germain is the European club winner when it comes to TikTok, ranking first with 23.8m followers. And while its rank on Facebook and Twitter is much lower, sixth and eighth, respectively, the club ranks third after the two Spanish clubs on Instagram with 55.7m followers.
Diversity While the club has not disclosed its ethnic minority representation, it does top female representation with an incredible 20% of its board made up of women. And the French club is just one of three European clubs (along with Liverpool and Tottenham) in the top 10 Money League that has signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
Revenue A slight decline in on-pitch performance from the previous two seasons’ highs saw Liverpool fall two places to seventh in this year’s Money League, bringing in revenue of €550.4m, down 1% on last season. The club has accrued most of its revenue from broadcast (55%), ranking fourth, with 43% coming from commercial and 2% from matchday.
In the 25 years that Liverpool has featured in the Deloitte Football Money League, its revenue has steadily increased to its maximum of €605m in 2019, which has since taken a hit in 2020 and 2021.
Social media While the club’s Facebook following is low compared to other clubs, ranking ninth out of 10 with 38.2m followers, it more than makes up for it on the YouTube front, ranking third highest with 6.6m followers.
Diversity Like Bayern Munich, Liverpool does not have any ethnic minority or female representation on its board but is just one of three European clubs (along with Paris Saint Germain and Tottenham) in the top 10 Money League that has signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
Revenue Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League triumph ensured they retained eighth position this season with revenue of €493.1m, up 5% from 2020. Out of all the clubs in the Money League, Chelsea accrued the highest percentage of its revenue from broadcast, at 63%, pulling in the third-highest broadcast revenue, at €309m, after Manchester City and Real Madrid. Commercial made up just 35% of its revenue and matchday 2%.
Social media Out of all social media platforms, Chelsea does best on Twitter, ranking fourth with 19.3m followers, followed by Facebook where it ranks fifth with 49.5m followers. The club is less impactful with video ranking eighth on YouTube (3.5m) and last (10th) on TikTok (5.7m).
Diversity While the club has no ethnic minority representation, like Paris Saint Germain, it wins in female representation with 20% of its board made up of women. It isn’t however yet a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
Revenue The only Italian club in the top 10, Juventus ranks ninth in the Money League for this season with revenue of €433.5m, up 9% on 2020, marking the largest percentage increase on 2020 of any club. The club’s revenue split for this season was 55% from broadcast, 43% from commercial and 2% from matchday. While Juventus has never placed top of the Money League, it did reach second place in 2002, the highest position achieved by an Italian club (177m).
Social media In the rankings, Juventus is average in its social media popularity ranking fifth on Instagram with 52.2m followers and sixth on TikTok (7.4m) but lagging on others, in particular on Twitter where it ranks ninth with just 9.7m.
Diversity When it comes to diversity, Juventus is the most inclusive on the gender front with the highest representation of women on its board, at an incredible 40%, though when it comes to ethnic minorities, there is no representation.
FC Internazionale Milano (€330.9m, 14th) closed the gap to Borussia Dortmund (€337.6m), Atlético de Madrid (€332.8m) in 12th and 13th respectively, after a return to the Champions League Group Stage and ending Juventus’ nine-year dominance of Serie A.
10 Tottenham Hotspur
Revenue Tottenham Hotspur in particular will be looking to maximise the return of fans to stadia in the 2021/22 season and climb the Money League, following a drop to tenth position this season. The club pulled in revenue of €406.2m, down 9% on 2020, marking the second-largest fall in revenue over the last season after FC Barcelona. Most of its revenue came from broadcast (57%) with 42% from commercial, marking the lowest of all top 10 clubs in commercial revenue (€170.8m), and 1% matchday.
Social media Tottenham ranks lowest of all clubs in most of its social media with Facebook and Instagram followers of just 23.2m and 12m, respectively, Tottenham Hotspur does however excel in the TikTok space ranking second with 13.4m followers.
Diversity The most diverse and inclusive of all clubs in the top 10, Tottenham Hotspur boasts 25% ethnic minority and female representation on its board and is just one of three European clubs (along with Paris Saint Germain and Liverpool) to have signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.
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