Euro 2020 Special
 

Premier League clubs dominate rich list

An annual survey, published by the financial consultancy group Deloitte, has revealed that more than half of the richest football clubs in the world, measured by revenues, come from the Premier League.

Based on the 2021/2022 season alone, 11 of the top 20 clubs by this yardstick, come from the Premier League.

Overall, revenues for this group of teams showed a 13% increase over the previous year, reflecting the effect of the return of fans to grounds after restrictions imposed during the Covid pandemic were eased.

The top 20 clubs earned £7.9 billion in revenues.

 

Manchester City top the list

The top earning side were Manchester City, who earned revenues of £619 million across the season.

They maintained their position ahead of Real Madrid, whilst Liverpool rose four places to third on the list. Following them were Manchester United and Paris-Saint Germain.

Rounding out the top ten were Barcelona, Bayern Munich and London rivals, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal.

Other Premier League representation

Observers might be surprised to see West Ham United at 15th on the list, whilst Leicester City, Leeds United, Everton and Newcastle United are all included.

 

The power of the Premier League

The Premier League is by far the most watched domestic league in the world, with a global fan base of billions, who tune in to watch matches very week in virtually every country on the planet. That has enabled them to strike television deals which far outstrip what other leagues are able to earn in terms of media rights.

They are also able to earn large sums in terms of commercial revenues, with lucrative sponsorship deals, endorsements, and tie-in with sportswear manufacturers.

And, with most Premier League clubs regularly selling out matches, every home game is a money spinner for them.

And that is before tapping into the riches available through European football.

Arguably, one of its biggest appeals is its competitive nature. Whereas most leagues tend to be dominated by one team – Bayern Munich, for example, have won the Bundesliga the last ten seasons – in the Premier League any side can beat another on its day.

 

Appeal to foreign owners

The vast sums that Premier League teams can earn in revenues helps explain its appeal to foreign owners.

That was illustrated last year, when a consortium led by the American Todd Boehly, paid £4.25 bn. To take over Chelsea after the previous owner Roman Abramovich was forced to give up his shares following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And it is why, with both Manchester United and Liverpool now both potentially up for sale, that figure could well be exceeded in the course of this year.

It also explains why just getting into the Premier League can be a major boost to club finances.

The play-off match to decide the third promotion candidate from the Championship each year is not described as the “richest game in football” for no good reason.

Revenues are not the only criteria

Revenues are not the only criteria for a club’s wealth though. It is important to look at the ownership model and how much they are willing to invest in the club.

For example, whilst Newcastle are only 20th on this list, they are now potentially the richest club in the world following their takeover by a Saudi backed consortium in 2021.

And both Manchester City and PSG are backed by wealthy Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds as well.

 

Revenue is not the same as profitability

Revenue does not always equate to profitability either.

Barcelona may have generated £540 million in revenues in the year in question but that did not prevent the club from going technically bankrupt, the result of years of poor investment decisions both on and off the pitch.

Similarly, Juventus may be the 11th richest club according to this list, but they posted record losses last year and face a range of potential sanctions, which could include a points deduction or being thrown out of Serie A altogether, if found guilty of charges of false accounting.

 

The pandemic

FIFA estimated that football globally lost in excess of £11 billion globally during the pandemic, the result of having to play behind closed doors for over a year, and the consequent restructuring of TV deals.

These figures indicate that it is now bouncing back, but there are still clubs burdened by debt from that period, and it may take the industry several years to fully recover.

 

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