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Study: Manchester City highest earner of any European domestic soccer champion

Premier League winners rake in €731m to top Football Benchmark ranking.

10 January 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and AC Milan complete top five
  • PSG score highest commercial income but suffer €369m loss
  • Ajax see revenue jump 51% YoY

Manchester City generated the most revenue of any European domestic soccer champions for the 2021/22 season, pulling in €731 million (US$785 million), according to a study by soccer data and analytics platform Football Benchmark.

The seventh edition of the European Champions Report, which focuses on the domestic champions of Europe’s eight most prominent soccer leagues, found that City’s revenue increased 13 per cent year-over-year (YoY). This put the English outfit ahead of Spanish giants and Uefa Champions League winners Real Madrid, who were second with revenue of €714 million (US$767 million), a YoY rise of 12 per cent.

France’s Paris Saint-Germain were third with €670 million (US$720 million), followed by Germany’s Bayern Munich who brought in €627 million (US$674 million). PSG also recorded the highest commercial income among all European teams with €399 million (US$429 million) and registered the highest staff costs ever reported by a club at €728 million (US$782 million).

The study highlights the revenue chasm between the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga compared to other top tiers. Though considered one of the continent’s ‘big five’, Italy’s Serie A has fallen well behind its rivals. This is shown by Football Benchmark reporting that Serie A winners AC Milan amassed revenue of €269 million (US$289 million) for 2021/22, albeit netting a YoY uplift of 16 per cent.

Dutch side Ajax enjoyed the biggest jump in revenue last season in terms of YoY improvement, enjoying a 51 per cent increase to rake in €189 million (US$203 million). This was in part helped by their progression to the round of 16 in the Champions League.

Portugal’s Porto saw their revenue drop six per cent YoY to €144 million (US$155 million), which the report attributed to worsened international performance. Turkish club Trabzonspor completed the lineup with revenue of €59 million (US$63.4 million), an uptick of 36 per cent.

Other key findings from Football Benchmark included Real Madrid having the highest broadcasting income of €320 million (US$344 million), aided by their march to their 14th Champions League title. PSG, meanwhile, raked in €131 million (US$141 million) in matchday revenue, more than any other club.

City led the pack with club-record profits, posting €49 million (US$52.6 million), ahead of second placed Porto. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich also managed to register net profits, having successfully recorded positive results in all pandemic-impacted seasons.

On the flipside, PSG were hit by a record net loss of €369 million (US$396 million). Ajax, AC Milan and Trabzonspor were also in the red.

“The 2021/22 season has seen a progressive recovery of football clubs on the revenue side,” said Andrea Sartori, Football Benchmark founder and chief executive. 

“Indeed, with the exception of FC Porto, whose worsened international performance depressed their income, all champions surveyed have managed to increase their operating revenues compared to the previous year’s, showing positive signs of a return to normalcy after the pandemic.”

He continued: “The main contributor to such a remarkable improvement were restored matchday revenues, virtually non-existent during the prior Covid-impacted season. Indeed, the eight champions together recorded stadium income in excess of €400 million, a stark comparison with the €40 million of the previous season.

“Except for Real Madrid, commercial revenue also grew for all clubs, overcoming the latest pre-Covid season’s figures. On the other hand, six clubs out of eight suffered a worsening of their broadcasting income, mainly due to the deferred broadcasting receipts from the 2019/20 season boosting clubs’ numbers for 2020/21.”

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