English Premier League clubs dominate Deloitte’s latest report on the financial league for football

The Premier League’s dominant financial position is confirmed in the 26th edition of Deloitte’s Football Money League report, with 11 of the world’s 20 highest-earning clubs coming from the English top flight.

This is the first time in the history of the report that one country has provided more than half of the rich list, with Manchester City topping the ranking for the second year in a row, Liverpool climbing to third place, its highest position, Leeds United and Leeds United. Newcastle United back in the top 20.

Tim Bridge, senior partner at Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The question now is whether other leagues can fill the gap, likely by increasing the value of future international media rights, or whether the Premier League will be almost untouchable, in terms of revenue.” .

The report notes that the English Premier League was the only one of Europe’s “big five” leagues to boost its media income in the latest set of rights auctions, with the league’s international broadcast rights now worth more than its domestic deals.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal – the clubs that make up the rest of the so-called “Big Six” in the English Premier League – were among the top 10 highest-earning players in the 2021-22 season, with West Ham (15th), Leicester City (15th) 17), Leeds (18), Everton (19) and Newcastle (20) are the other English clubs on the list.

And the league’s economic strength goes deeper than that, with five other clubs in the top 30.

“It is unlikely that the financial supremacy of the Premier League will be challenged in the coming seasons,” said Sam Burr, one of the report’s authors. “Now it probably won’t be the case, but when, all 20 Premier League clubs will appear in the Money League Top 30.”

Deloitte ranks clubs by how much money they make from broadcasting, commercial deals and match days, and the overall picture is one of post-pandemic recovery across Europe.

In 2021 and 2222, the top 20 earned €9.2bn (£8bn), down slightly from the record total of €9.3bn in 2020 and 2021, but 13 per cent higher than the 2022 drop to €8.2bn (7.2bn). pound) ). The main driver of this revival has been the return of fans, with match day income rising from €111m (£97m) to €1.4bn (£1.2bn).

Commercial revenue also rose significantly as confidence returned to the global economy, but this was offset by a drop in broadcast revenue, although the year-over-year comparison was skewed by the fact that last year’s numbers were artificially boosted by a portion of deferred revenue. broadcasts in 2019-20 to 2020-21 accounts because the start of the pandemic in 2020 delayed the end of that season.

But looking closely at the recovery, it’s clear the Premier League has weathered the storm better than its peers, with the ‘Big Six’ seeing their combined revenue grow by more than 15 per cent.

Liverpool are the biggest climbers – overtaking rivals Manchester United for the first time in Premier League history – with income rising 28 per cent from €550m (£487m) to €702m (£594m) on the back of their run to champions . League final.

Real Madrid, the team that beat Liverpool that night in Paris, saw its turnover grow 11 per cent last year, but it’s still 43 million euros less than what it earned in 2018-19, the last season before the pandemic.

This failure to recover is further evident in its La Liga rival, Barcelona, ​​who topped the Money League in 2020 and 2021 but fell to fourth in 2022 and seventh this year. The Catalan giants made a record €841m (£736m) in the 2018-19 season but only earned €638m (£541m) in 2021-22, a staggering drop of €203m (£178m). ).

The Premier League’s financial strength has been the subject of discussion – and contention – across the European game in recent years, with many believing the English competition to be the de facto European Premier League.

Andrea Agnelli, the recently departed Juventus chairman, whose team has dropped to 11th, with Tottenham and Arsenal trailing them, pointed to the Premier League’s dominance in a farewell letter to Juventus shareholders on Wednesday.

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“European football needs a new system,” said Agnelli, one of the architects of the European Premier League that spectacularly failed to get it launched in 2021.

“Otherwise, it risks a decline in favor of one dominant league, which in a few years will attract all the talents of European football into the league, completely sidelining the other leagues.”

Agnelli’s comments come less than a week after La Liga coach Javier Tebas told the crowd in Brussels that the Premier League was financially “unsustainable” because it allowed club owners to fund large losses, and that was the only reason English clubs could spend. a lot in the transfer market.

For its part, the English Premier League appears to be happy to let its clubs hold their talks on the pitch, as this season the league has strengthened its lead in the UEFA coefficient rankings, which are based on clubs’ results in European club competitions.

But Deloitte’s Bridge sounded two warning notes for England’s elite: the UK’s broader economy and the prospect of an independent regulator forcing them to share more of their media income with the rest of the pyramid.

“It appears business partner, fan and investor interest in the Premier League is higher than ever,” Bridge said.

“While this points to optimism for further growth, continued calls for a greater distribution of English clubs’ financial wealth across the football system and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis make it all the more important for the game’s stakeholders to focus on their responsibility as stewards of the leading clubs.”

For the first time, this year’s report also reported the revenues of women’s teams in Money League clubs. They showed an average revenue of €2.4m (£2.1m) attributable to the women’s teams in the 2021-22 season.

Barcelona achieved the highest revenue of all 2023 Money League clubs on its women’s side (€7.7m / £6.7m) with Manchester United second (€6m / £5.3m) and Manchester City third (€5.1m / £4.5m).

Bridge concludes: “The women’s professional game is still near the beginning of its journey, and the revenues reported by the top clubs at this early stage point to the significant value that women’s teams will generate in future seasons. Along with long-term decision-making focused on growth, we expect The development of industry data that analyzes women’s sports will also support success in the women’s game. This will enable clubs and leagues to show the value of their female sides and the fan base they attract.”

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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