Football isn’t just a sport; it’s a business. So it’s not surprise that people are paying so much attention to it. And that is also one of the main reason why there are many clubs being born day after day. But have you ever wonder, out of this thousands of football club around the world, which one is the richest football club? The largest football clubs in the world attract millions of fans, signed huge deal of sponsorship, and earn jaw-dropping revenues. We’re about to break down the richest football clubs is the wealthiest.
The financial state of football clubs is influenced by a lot of different factors, from broadcasting rights to player sales to sponsorship and other things. The Deloitte Football Money League has been a significant source, annually ranking the richest football clubs based on their revenue. Here, we’ll use their data and other credible financial analyses to provide an insightful review of the game’s financial titans.
Top Five Richest Football Clubs by Revenue (as of 2023)
1. Manchester City
Manchester City remained as the richest football club to generate to most revenue in the world of football. This growth is boosted by the increase in commercial revenue (from €65m to 373m in 2021/22) which is the new Premier Record.
Main revenue streams: Broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. Despite their well-documented financial struggles in the past few years, they remain a top earner.
2. Real Madrid
A close second, Real Madrid benefits from its storied history and consistently high Champions League performances. Real Madrid stands as a premier football club of unmatched achievement and global acclaim, boasting a rich history and loyal fans. The team’s unyielding spirit and ability to confront the obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic represent its resilience, yielding favorable economic outcomes and strategic investments for the times ahead.
The Liverpool comeback after succeeding years of financial losses since 2018-2019 period. Main revenue comes from Commercial, Additional Shop stores, and Media.
Commercial revenue at the club was up £29m to £247m thanks to a series of new partnerships including firms such as Wasabi and VistaPrint. Liverpool also added 51 new shop-in-shop locations and signed 19 new international licensing deals, while e-commerce also grew with mobile transactions increasing by over 60 percent and Liverpool merchandise being shipped to over 190 countries.
4. Manchester United
High ticket sales have played a game changer role in driving a substantial portion of the revenue surge. The cumulative sale of 2.3 million tickets by Manchester United during the 2022-23 season has not only shattered its previous record set in 2016-17 but has also underscored the team’s enduring popularity.
Adding to the positive momentum, Manchester United has effectively eradicated its debt burden, a significant milestone that aligns with the club’s ongoing contemplation of a potential team sale.
Beyond the bottom line, the iconic club has showcased a remarkable 22.2% year-on-year surge in commercial revenue, amassing an impressive total of $97.5 million. However, it’s important to acknowledge the nuances: broadcasting revenue tallies at $72.7 million, reflecting a 32.1% year-on-year contraction, while matchday revenue registers at $37 million, signifying a 13.6% year-on-year decrease.
5. Paris Saint-Germain
In the 2021-22 season, PSG clinched its fourth Ligue 1 title in the span of five years. Spearheaded by the formidable trio of Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar, often referred to as the Big 3 in European football, the club’s continued dominance at the pinnacle of Ligue 1 is hardly surprising. This winning streak, however, comes with a substantial price tag, as PSG proudly flaunted the loftiest player wage bill ever documented in the annals of European football.
Staggeringly, PSG’s player wage bill surged to a staggering 728 million euros, a sum that eclipsed the previous record established by Barcelona (where Messi was plying his trade at the time) back in 2019. This financial commitment is nearly 200 million euros higher than the former record.
Source: Deloitte Football Money League 2023.
Factors Influencing Football Club Wealth
Broadcasting Rights: The Premier League secured a £4.7bn TV rights deal (2019-2022), emphasizing the magnitude of this revenue stream.
Sponsorships and Commercial Deals: Adidas’s £75m per year deal with Manchester United is an example of the astronomical figures involved.
Merchandising: Clubs with global fan bases, like Barcelona and Real Madrid, generate vast amounts from merchandise sales, often in hundreds of millions.
Expert Opinions on Football Finance
Dr. Dan Plumley, a sports finance expert, notes, “The financial health of a club doesn’t solely revolve around revenue. Debt levels, profitability, and wage control are also critical indicators.”
Rob Wilson, a football finance specialist, opines, “In football, broadcast rights have been transformative, but the next frontier might be direct-to-consumer streaming, giving clubs even more financial muscle.”
The Future of Football Finance
With the advent of digital platforms and growing global fan bases, clubs are continually looking for new revenue streams. Direct-to-consumer content, e-sports partnerships, and enhanced stadium experiences are among the innovative approaches clubs are exploring.
The financial landscape of football continues to evolve. While traditional revenue streams remain vital, the richest clubs are those that innovate, expand their global reach, and judiciously manage their finances.