UK: Deloitte Football Money League - All To Play For

Last Updated: 26 November 2014
Article by Dan Jones and Austin Houlihan

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017


Welcome to the 17th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League, in which we profile the highest earning clubs in the world's most popular sport. Published just eight months after the end of the 2012/13 season, the Money League is the most contemporary and reliable analysis of the clubs' relative financial performance.

There are a number of metrics, both financial and nonfinancial, that can be used to compare clubs including attendance, worldwide fan base, broadcast audience and on-pitch success. In the Money League we focus on clubs' ability to generate revenue from matchday ticket and corporate hospitality sales, broadcast rights (including distributions from participation in domestic leagues, cups and European club competitions) and sponsorship, merchandising and other commercial operations, and rank them on that basis.

Grand prix

In recent years, the Money League has often had a familiar feel, with a similarity year on year in the position of clubs at the top of the rankings. However, 2012/13 is different, with a number of interesting developments illustrating the changing landscape of world football. Thanks to their Champions League and domestic success, Bayern Munich knock Manchester United out of our top three. Another change is the emergence as a major force in global football of Paris Saint-Germain, who secure fifth place, easily the highest ever placing for a French club. The continued development of Manchester City results in the club climbing to sixth position and achieving the unprecedented status of being ahead of their Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal in our table. Liverpool fall outside the top ten for the first time since 1999/2000.

Whilst clubs from the 'big five' leagues continue to dominate, it is noticeable that clubs from emerging markets are challenging strongly. The presence of Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe in the top 20 and Corinthians in the top 30 emphasises the growth of their respective economies, their populations' passion for the game, and their developing football infrastructure.

Galatasaray are in 16th place, the highest ever Money League ranking for a Turkish club. They are joined in the top 20 by great rivals Fenerbahçe, who are in 18th position. Galatasaray's new Türk Telekom Arena, and the revenue generating opportunities it has presented coupled with their progress in the UEFA Champions League, has allowed them to appear amongst our elite in revenue generating terms. Fenerbahçe also return to the top 20, and the potential for growth of the Turkish clubs is illustrated by their followings on the social media network, Twitter. Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe are the third and sixth most followed Money League clubs.

Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe's presence makes it the first time since 2005/06 that two clubs from outside the 'big five' European leagues are present in the Money League. Those aside, there are six clubs from England, four from Germany, four from Italy, three from Spain and one from France.

Just missing out on the top 20 in 2012/13, but further illustrating the changing landscape of world football are Corinthians. They rank 24th, but with the continuing development of Brazilian football, aided by a booming economy and the benefits of Brazil hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014, there is no reason to suggest that they cannot secure a top 20 position in years to come. For many clubs, it is all to play for!

Source: Deloitte analysis.

The changing nature of this year's Money League reflects the wide range of recent changes that have taken place across elite level football. Of the 20 Money League clubs, all playing in European leagues, over one third of them now have an owner or ultimate controlling party residing outside of Europe. In particular, the desire of individuals and corporates from United States and the Middle East to associate with elite football is higher than ever.

At the start of the 2013/14 season, seven of the 20 Money League clubs have a Middle Eastern airline shirt sponsor. The growth in global interest in football shows no sign of slowing down and we should expect revenues for the top 20 clubs to increase further as they find ways to further exploit the most lucrative emerging markets and technologies.

Crème de la crème

Revenue once again grew for the top 20 clubs in the Money League, from €5 billion in 2011/12 to €5.4 billion in 2012/13; an 8% increase. Given the backdrop of a tough economic climate, this is a particularly impressive achievement. This total will approach, and could well exceed, €6 billion in next year's edition.

To gain a place as one of the top 30 revenue generating clubs this year, it was necessary to generate in excess of €100m. In our first edition of the Money League in 1996/97, only one team, Manchester United, generated over €100m and it wasn't until 2007/08 that all 20 clubs generated in excess of €100m.


Real Madrid once again top the Money League, completing their ninth consecutive year at the summit. They now hold the record outright for the longest stint as football's leading revenue generator, beating Manchester United's previous eight year record.

The gap to FC Barcelona in second place widened to €36.3m in 2012/13 from €29.6m in 2011/12, with the Catalan club suffering a slight fall in overall revenue. Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona benefit from Middle-Eastern support, with Emirates Airways and Qatar Airways as their respective shirt sponsors for 2013/14. FC Barcelona have forecast that they will break the €500m turnover barrier in 2013/14 as competition between the Spanish giants remains fierce both on and off the pitch.

La renaissance

Bayern Munich's domestic and international on-pitch dominance in 2012/13, winning the treble, is reflected in their rise to third place in this year's Money League. They are joined in the top 20 by their Bundesliga counterparts Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and Hamburger SV.

55% of Bayern's revenue is generated from commercial activities and a €35.5m increase from commercial sources, coupled with a €25.6m increase in broadcast income, allow them to jump ahead of Manchester United. Historically, Bayern have been able to generate high levels of commercial revenue and although they have now been overtaken by Paris Saint-Germain in this regard, their commercial figures remain impressive compared to many other Money League clubs. Under Pep Guardiola, Bayern have made an extremely strong start to the 2013/14 campaign, but this will need to be continued through 2014 if they are to maintain a top three spot as Manchester United continue their own commercial growth.

Tour de force

Once again, England has the most clubs in the Money League top 20, with six clubs representing the Premier League this year. Manchester United's fall to fourth place might only be a temporary decline as the impact of many of their recent commercial deals is yet to be seen. 2013/14 represents a real opportunity for revenue growth for the Red Devils. New commercial arrangements, including the training ground and kit deal with Aon, commenced, and with the impact of the new Premier League broadcast deal, it is likely that they will surpass the £400m revenue mark in next year's Money League. Their longer term positioning will be influenced by on-pitch performance, in particular continuing their status as a perennial UEFA Champions League club for 2014/15 and beyond, something which is in jeopardy after an inconsistent start to 2013/14.

Manchester City, the most notable climbers among English clubs in recent years, rise to sixth place from seventh last year, overtaking Arsenal and Chelsea.

The 2013/14 season promises a further shake-up in the Money League for the 2015 edition and we expect to see all Premier League clubs reporting healthy revenue growth on the back of the first year of the latest lucrative Premier League television contracts. Liverpool, who have fallen to 12th, and Tottenham Hotspur in 14th in this year's edition, may be expected to move up the rankings. In fact, it may well be that in next year's edition there are a record number of clubs from one country in the top 20 (current record: eight), with Everton, Newcastle United and West Ham United all likely to challenge for a top 20 position.

La révolution

France's sole representative this year is Paris Saint- Germain who burst into the top five, recording the highest ever commercial revenue for a football club. In fact, PSG's €254.7m commercial revenue is the highest ever from a single revenue stream in the history of the Money League.

Heavily backed by Qatari investment, Paris Saint- Germain have been able to increase their revenue almost five-fold since 2009/10. It would be no surprise to see Paris Saint-Germain become a mainstay of the Money League top five in years to come as they continue their development and their strong Middle-Eastern relationships drive further revenue growth.


Four Italian clubs are present in the Money League, with Juventus leading the way in ninth place. The Old Lady climbs one place as the impact of owning the new Juventus Stadium continues to have a positive effect on their revenue generating ability. Furthermore, Juve received the highest distribution from UEFA for their participation in the UEFA Champions League despite being eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

AC Milan occupy the final position in the Money League top ten but their city rivals Internazionale fall to 15th as their on-pitch disappointments, in particular their nonparticipation in the UEFA Champions League took their toll. AS Roma complete the Italian presence in 19th place and, after an extremely strong start to the 2013/14 season, will be confident of securing Champions League qualification and moving back up the Money League in future editions.

However, whilst the majority of the Money League is characterised by revenue growth in a challenging market, Italian clubs, with the exception of Juventus, are struggling to grow and find themselves sliding down the Money League. Italian clubs not owning their own stadium makes it hard for them to invest and to generate the matchday and commercial revenue of their European peers.

Le peloton

We reported last year that football mirrors the trend in the wider global economy with clubs from outside the 'big five' markets emerging as contenders, but clubs from smaller, traditionally strong European markets struggling to make the top 20 in an increasingly globalised market. This is reflected by the presence of Benfica (Portugal), Ajax (Netherlands) and Corinthians (Brazil) in the list opposite.

Corinthians climb to 24th in 2012/13; an encouraging sign for the development of the global game. It will be interesting to see over the coming years whether more Brazilian teams can challenge for a Money League position as the game's infrastructure further develops there.

Given the rise of Corinthians prior to the 2014 World Cup, Russian clubs should have the opportunity to benefit from the potential for growth that hosting a World Cup provides in the build up to 2018. It will be intriguing to see if Russian clubs can challenge for a Money League spot in the near future.

It is expected that the positions 21-30 will take on a different look in next year's edition as the impact of the new Premier League broadcast deals is seen. Along with further entrants to the top 20, we can expect to see more and more English clubs filling those slots. We expect all of the top 20 English clubs to be comfortably within the top 50 globally and the majority to be within the top 30 when we compile next year's list.

Bon voyage

Whilst the Money League covers clubs' revenue performance, there is an increasing focus within European football on clubs achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure relative to revenues, particularly given UEFA's Financial Fair Play break-even requirement. UEFA has already shown it is ready to act on clubs not complying with its club licensing and 'no overdue payables' requirements. The first sanctions handed to clubs failing to comply with the break-even requirement are likely to be seen during the 2013/14 season.

We believe disciplined and responsible governance structures and financial management within European football, whilst providing the platform for investment in facilities and youth development, should only be encouraged.

Mise en scène

We provide profiles of each of the top 20 clubs in this edition. The Deloitte Football Money League was compiled by Dan Jones, Austin Houlihan, Richard Battle, Alex Bosshardt, Timothy Bridge, Chris Hanson, James Savage, Andy Shaffer, Chris Stenson and Alexander Thorpe. Our thanks go to those who have assisted us, inside and outside the Deloitte international network. We hope you enjoy this edition.

To read this article in full, please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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