Manchester United remain the top-ranked English club in terms of revenue generated but their 23-year dominance of Deloitte’s Football Money League could come under threat from Manchester City or Liverpool in next year’s table. United’s earnings of £627.1 million for 2018/19 puts them third overall in the table, behind Spanish giants Barcelona (£741.1m) and Real Madrid (£667.5m). Their closest Premier League rivals are City and Liverpool in sixth and seventh respectively, with the Blues just £88.9 million behind.
United, who have been the highest-ranked English club since Deloitte first compiled the Money League survey based on the 1996/97 financial results, are forecasting reduced revenues of between £560-580 million for 2019/20. The club face the prospect of a second consecutive season without Champions League broadcast revenue. In terms of market values on Transfermarkt, they have already fallen behind five of their Premier League rivals, with their squad only being the 11th most valuable in the world anymore.
United only in 11th The most valuable squads in the world Click here for overview Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, believes a changing of the guard is possible. “United have been the top English club since we started the Money League but that could come under a bit of pressure when we do it in 2021,” he told the PA news agency. “That will cover this season when Liverpool are having an tremendous season on the pitch, so we think there’s a possibility of United losing that number one position. (…) It is definitely a possibility that United will lose that place. Depending on where they are in that range of projected revenue (£560-580m), and if City and Liverpool do well in the Champions League, it could be very, very close. If you think about where we were 10 years ago, the idea that City would overhaul United in financial terms would have seemed far-fetched.”
Man City and Liverpool close in on United – Arsenal falling into 11th
Deloitte recorded United’s revenue in 2008/09 as £278.5 million, with City almost £200 million behind them on £87 million. At that point United were almost £100 million ahead of Liverpool as well. In all there are eight Premier League clubs in the Money League top 20, more than any other country, and all the clubs hail from Europe’s big five leagues of England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Barcelona top the 2020 Deloitte Money League (PA Graphic)
Tottenham have achieved their highest-ever position in the table of eighth with revenue of £459.3 million, and are the top-ranked London club for the first time since the very first Money League. Their north London rivals Arsenal suffered from a second consecutive season without Champions League football, falling from ninth to 11th. Chelsea, who announced an after-tax loss of £96 million for 2018/19 on New Year’s Eve, are ninth in the table, while the other Premier League representatives are West Ham and Everton in 18th and 19th respectively.
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Barcelona in front of Real Madrid – record gap between 1st and 2nd
Combined revenues among the top 20 have grown by 11 per cent compared to last year to a record of €9.3 billion (just under £7.9 billion). Barcelona are way out in front, in financial terms. They lead bitter rivals Real by £73.6 million, a record gap between first and second in the history of the Deloitte study. Deloitte said a “primary factor” behind the Catalan club’s earning power was their decision to bring merchandising and licensing activities in-house.
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Jones added: “Barça are a clear example of a club adapting to changing market conditions, reducing the reliance on broadcast revenue and focusing on growing revenues within its control. The club’s commercial operation generated €383.5 million (£326.6m) of revenue, which is more than the total revenue of the 12th-placed club in this year’s Money League. With the club expecting further growth of €30 million (£25.5m) in commercial revenues and total revenue of almost €880 million (£749.5m) in 2019/20, we expect them to retain the top spot in next year’s edition.”