Premier League clubs dominate the richest clubs in the world list as Barcelona slip to 7th
In a report released earlier this year, FIFA estimated that around €1.46 billion had been spent globally on transfers in the January transfer window, with €838.06 of that spent by Premier League teams, a clear indicator that the league has some of the richest football clubs in the world.
A further study by Deloitte, which publishes the annual money league standings, shows how dominant Premier League teams are in the economics of world of football.
They estimate, using revenue earned per season, that English clubs predominantly make up the largest percentage of the richest football clubs in the world, with six of the top 10, 11 of the top 20 and 16 of the top 30 richest teams in the world all currently playing in the Premier League.
Incredibly, that leaves only four teams currently in the Premier League that are not among the 30 richest football clubs in the world.
Deloitte noted that despite the top 20 ranked teams on their list seeing a cumulative increase in revenue due to the return of fans to stadiums, as well as new commercial partnerships, English teams still saw the biggest increase in revenue, as five of the traditional big six saw their revenue jump by at least 15%.
With that in mind, here is a ranking of the top 10 richest football clubs in the world for 2023 based on revenue earned.
Richest football clubs in the world 2023
10. Arsenal — Revenue generated: €433.5m
Arsenal returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2019 after Juventus’ steep fall in the rankings saw them fall from 9th to 11th.
The Gunners, on the other hand, enjoyed a sharp increase of up to 18% in total revenues to climb into the top 10 richest football clubs in the world list.
A large part of Arsenal’s increase was due to the increase in their commercial revenue, which increased from €154 million to €167 million, and their matchday income, which increased from €4 million to €94 million in the span of one year.
With the 60,000-capacity Emirates stadium filled with Gunners watching their team fight for the Premier League title every other week, it is no surprise that matchday revenues rose even as the club recovered from COVID-19 restrictions on stadium attendance.
If Arsenal do win the league, they can be expected to enjoy an even greater financial windfall as commercial, matchday and even broadcasting revenue will be expected to go up, especially with the added benefit of UEFA Champions League football.
9. Tottenham — Revenue generated: €523m
Tottenham continue to defy regular notions of winning trophies equating to financial success, as they maintain their position on the list of richest football clubs in the world despite failing to lift a trophy yet again in the 2021/22 season.
Not only did Tottenham maintain the 9th spot on the list, but their revenue base grew in the period under consideration to pre-COVID highs, and marked their biggest yearly income for five years.
Like their North-London neighbours Arsenal, Tottenham are also helped by having a large stadium and also have the benefit over the Gunners of finishing in the top four of the 2021/22 Premier League season and playing in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
8. Chelsea — Revenue generated: €568.3m
Another London club, Chelsea maintain the same position they had on last year’s list, after seeing a significant increase in commercial revenue as well.
Chelsea reached commercial success unheard of since the coronavirus pandemic, partly due to Todd Boehly’s takeover, and also a positive net spend on players of up to €13m during the period investigated.
Chelse also benefited from finishing third in the 2021/22 Premier League season, reaching the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals as well.
With the increase in revenue, Chelsea were also able to reduce their wage-to-revenue ratio from 77% last year, to 71% in 2023.
7. Barcelona — Revenue generated: €638.2m
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona suffered the steepest fall in the top 10 richest football clubs list after a tumultuous year that has seen them suffer losses both on and off the pitch. Although Barcelona made a year-on-year revenue gain, it still was not enough to keep them on their usual pedestal, as other clubs made significantly more than the Catalan club in the last year.
The 2021/22 season started with the Catalans losing Lionel Messi, a major commercial attraction, and Barcelona went on to crash out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage, which severely hampered their broadcasting revenue for the season.
Interestingly, Barcelona Femeni earned a larger share of the revenue for the Barcelona enterprise than any other team in the top 10, making 7.7% of total revenue.
Barcelona might be able to climb back to a more familiar position on the list of richest football clubs next season thanks to economic levers activated by the club at the start of the 2022/23 season. However, they should also expect broadcast revenue to plummet after crashing out of the UCL in the group stage again and selling off 49% of their future broadcast revenue to raise the levers mentioned above.
They will also be counting on the 99,000-capacity Camp Nou to come to their aid after it helped them raise €100 million in matchday revenue.
6. Bayern Munich — Revenue generated: €653.6m
Bayern Munich continue to enjoy tremendous commercial success and earned the second most commercial revenue of any team in the top 10 with €375m of their income coming from this source.
The 32-time Bundesliga champions saw a higher percentage (58%) of their revenue come from commercial income than any other side in the top 10, but they also saw relatively poor matchday revenue figures, as only Manchester City recorded lower revenue from matchday activities than Bayern Munich’s €68 million.
The lack of significant matchday revenue combined with a reduction in broadcasting revenue meant that Bayern Munich also dropped three places in the ranking of the richest football clubs in the world.
5. Paris Saint Germain — Revenue generated: €654.2m
Oil-rich PSG expectedly earned the most from commercial sources, and their €378 million slightly eclipses Bayern Munich’s figures for the year.
These mega earnings, which are fairly consistent with PSG’s over the last five years, have earned the Paris club a place in the top five richest football clubs in the world.
Despite the step-up, PSG will still be worried about their broadcast revenue, which at €139 million stands at only three million euros more than Everton’s €136 million earned from broadcast rights in the 2021/22 season, despite PSG winning Ligue 1 and Everton finishing 16th in the Premier League.
PSG’s broadcast revenue was the second lowest in five years and can be attributed to low regard for Ligue 1 by broadcasters and PSG exiting the UCL at the round of 16 stage.
More worryingly for PSG, however, is the exponential growth of their wages, which now represent 111% of their revenue for the 2021/22 season, thanks largely to the signings of superstars Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos. The fact that Kylian Mbappe’s bumper wages in his famous extension have not been factored in raises some real concern for PSG’s future.
4. Manchester United — Revenue generated: €689m
Manchester United have several factors working for them as they climb to fourth on the list from being fifth last year.
Like most clubs, they experienced significant growth in commercial income, which totalled €309 million, up from €262 million last season.
They also had ticket sales and other activity at Old Trafford to thank for their rise in the rankings as they raked in €126 million from matchday activities, second only to PSG who saw €132 million in earnings from this source.
3. Liverpool — Revenue generated: €701.7m
Liverpool invariably missed out on the UEFA Champions League and Premier League titles in the 2021/22 season, but their performances in both competitions went a long way in setting their finances for the season.
The Reds enjoyed the biggest climb of any team in the top 10 richest football clubs in the world ranking as they rose from 7th to 3rd and also saw the highest revenue jump, with 27% more revenue than they did in the previous year.
Liverpool were the only team in the top 10 to see their broadcasting revenue increase as it jumped to €314 million from €304 million.
As mentioned earlier, reaching the final of the UCL as well as finishing second in the Premier League helped boost that number, as did winning both domestic cups.
2. Real Madrid — Revenue generated: €713.8m
Real Madrid were crowned champions of Spain and of Europe as well in a fabulous season for the club that also saw them earn €713.8 million in revenue.
Real Madrid got to celebrate on and off the pitch as they maintained their standing in the money league in addition to winning the Champions League and LaLiga again.
They experienced an 11% growth in revenue that saw them reach over €700 million in earnings for the first time since 2019.
Real Madrid earned over €300 million from commercial revenue and broadcast revenue each, and they also did well to earn €88 million from matchday revenues despite sections of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium being closed for large parts of the season.
Although the figure is low in comparison to many of the others in the top 10, it is still remarkable given the circumstances, and with a fully functional stadium that has been expanded, that number will increase greatly in the next report.
1. Manchester City — Revenue generated: €731m
Being the Champions of England, it is not too surprising that Manchester City racked up more money than any other side in Europe last year.
The Cityzens won the Premier League by a landslide and also reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, narrowly losing to Real Madrid.
Their title win and deep run in Europe served Manchester City well, as they enjoyed €294 million in broadcast revenue and €373 million in commercial revenue, putting them behind only PSG and Bayern Munich for money earned through commercial ventures.
Although Manchester City have been embroiled in a heated battle with the Premier League to prove the validity of previous commercial revenue, they will be confident that this year’s figures are undeniable after a series of on-pitch successes that have led to more partnerships.
A source of worry for Manchester City, however, will be their lack of matchday earnings compared to their rivals on the list.
At only €64 million, Manchester City’s matchday income for the year ranks last in the top list of richest football clubs in the world and should be a real source of concern for the richest club in the world.
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