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Manchester City top Deloitte Football Money League for first time

20 highest earning soccer clubs generate €8.2bn in revenue for 2020/21.

21 March 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Combined revenue up less than 1% on 2019/20 and well short of record €9.3bn for 2018/19
  • Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United complete top five
  • Clubs miss out on €2bn over 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to Covid-19

English soccer champions Manchester City have been ranked the as the highest earning club in the world for the first time in the Deloitte Football Money League.

The annual study found that the 20 top-earning clubs generated €8.2 billion (US$9 billion) of combined revenue for the 2020/21 season, soccer’s first full campaign since the arrival of Covid-19. Total revenue was up less than one per cent on 2019/20 and well short of the record €9.3 billion (US$10.3 billion) for 2018/19.

Manchester City raked in €644.9 million (US$711.3 million), which saw them rise five places from last year’s list, to top the standings. City are only the fourth different club to top the Money League and it is the first time they have finished ahead of rivals Manchester United.

Spain’s Real Madrid were second with €640.7 million (US$706.7 million) in revenue, followed by Germany’s Bayern Munich with €611.4 million (US$674.4 million). Barcelona, who topped the previous edition of the Money League, slipped to fourth with €582.1 million (US$642.1 million). Manchester United completed the top five with revenue of €558 million (US$615.5 million).

English top-flight soccer side Wolverhampton Wanderers cracked the top 20 for the first time with revenue of €219.2 million (US$241.8 million).

Of the 20 clubs, ten were from the Premier League. Three (Real, Barca and Atletico Madrid) were from LaLiga, three (Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan) from Italy’s Serie A, two (Bayern and Borussia Dortmund) from the Bundesliga, one (Paris Saint-Germain) from France’s Ligue 1, and one (Zenit St Petersburg) from the Russian Premier League.

Average revenue of the 20 clubs was €409 million (US$451.1 million) for 2020/21, a marginal increase on 2019/20 courtesy of broadcast deferrals, but a 12 per cent decrease on 2018/19 due to the absence of fans on matchdays.

Indeed, matchday revenue was €111 million (US$122.4 million), the lowest ever in the study’s history. In contrast, broadcast revenue increased by €1.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) from 2019/20 to €4.6 billion (US$5.1 billion).

Commercial revenue decreased seven per cent from the record high of 2019/20 to €3.5 billion (US$3.9 billion). Deloitte noted that this recession was ‘not as significant as many had forecast’.

According to Deloitte, clubs have missed out on more than €2 billion (US$2.2 billion) of revenue over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons due to the pandemic.

Deloitte also drew attention to the rising popularity and scale of women’s soccer, pointing out that all 20 clubs have a women’s team for the first time in the list’s 25-year history. Just 30 per cent had a women’s team in the Money League’s first edition. However, women comprised less than half of the board at the 19 clubs which disclosed their board’s gender split, while 42 per cent had no women on their board at all.

Looking ahead to next year’s list covering the 2021/22 season, Deloitte expects revenue of Money League clubs to reach record levels, as they bounce back from the effects of Covid-19 and push towards collective revenues of €10 billion (US$11 billion).

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