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January 23, 2018updated 29 Jan 2018 4:20pm

Man United hold top spot in £7bn football money league

By Spear's

Man United fans will be delighted to find the club dominating a recent global ranking by Deloitte, writes Sam Forsdick

While its on-pitch performance has lost some of its former lustre, Man United continues to  dominate the global rankings of football clubs in revenue terms, banking nearly £600 million in the last season.

Twelve points behind its northern powerhouse rival Manchester City in the Premier League, United earned £581.2 million in the 2016/17 season, placing it £127.7 million ahead of City in the financial stakes, according to the recent Deloitte Football Money League report.

Not only that, but Man United also held off European rival Real Madrid, which earned £579.7 million, for the second year in a row. United increased its revenue from £515.3 million the 2015/16 season. Nearly £300 million of Old Trafford’s earnings come through sponsorship deals and other commercial income. The global popularity of their brand has allowed them to outperform their competitors in this key area.

Unlike Man United, Real Madrid’s bottom line success was matched on pitch where they won four titles including La Liga and The Champions League. This helped translate into revenue growth of £116 million for the side, as merchandising and sponsorship deals increased, but was not enough for them to gain pole position. Real Madrid had topped the Deloitte Money League for eleven years before Manchester United took it off them in 2015/16.

Man United

Spanish giant Barcelona completes the top three, bringing in £557 million. The club, however, are aiming to break the £600 million barrier in 2018, with profits boosted by their record-breaking £188 million sponsorship deal with Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce site.

Manchester City, the second-placed English side, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all make the top 10, reflecting the financial prowess of England’s top teams. Improved TV broadcast deals are the main reason for this and make up 45 per cent of total revenue for the highest earning clubs.

‘The Deloitte Football Money League has a particularly English feel this year,’ notes Tim Bridge, senior manager in the sports business group at Deloitte. In all 10 Premier League teams make this year’s top 20 of highest earning clubs – a record from a single country – despite the poor performance of the pound against the euro. The total revenue of the top 20 was almost £7 billion.

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The performance of Premier League teams in European competitions was another key factor. Southampton and Everton’s exploits in the Europa league saw them break into the top 20.

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, comments:  ‘European football continues to flourish financially, with almost half a billion Euro of revenue growth for the top 20 Money League clubs.’

In 2000 a revenue take of £200 million would have been enough to claim top spot however this year it is only just enough to make the top 20.

This year’s table consists entirely of teams Germany, Italy, Spain, England and France. However the financial advisory firm found that growing popularity of the sport in the USA and China could lead to rapid revenue increases outside of Europe and underlines the financial power of football across the world.



(last year’s position)

Club 2016/17 Revenue (£m) (2015/16 Revenue)
1 (1) Man United 581.2 (515.3)
2 (3) Real Madrid 579.7 (463.8)
3 (2) FC Barcelona 557.1 (463.8)
4 (4) Bayern Munich 505.1 (442.7)
5 (5) Manchester City 453.5 (392.6)
6 (7) Arsenal 419 (350.4)
7 (6) Paris Saint-Germain 417.8 (389.6)
8 (8) Chelsea 367.8 (334.6)
9 (9) Liverpool 364.5 (302)
10 (10) Juventus 348.6 (253.5)
11 (12) Tottenham Hotspur 305.6 (209.2)
12 (11) Borussia Dortmund 285.8 (212.3)
13 (13) Atlético de Madrid 234.2 (171)
14 (20) Leicester City 233 (128.7)
15 (19) Internazionale 225.2 (134)
16 (14) Schalke 04 197.8 (167.9)
17 (18) West Ham United 183.3 (143.8)
18 (n/a) Southampton 182.3 (124.3)
19 (n/a) Napoli 172.5 (107.8)
20 (n/a) Everton 171.2 (121.5)


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