Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have all slipped down the rankings in the latest Deloitte Football Money League as clubs from continental Europe gained ground.
Liverpool have had the biggest fall of any club in the top 20, from third place down to seventh, after Deloitte found their revenue had dropped slightly from £594.3million to £593.8m.
Deloitte attributed that fall to the Reds’ on-field performance, with the club finishing fifth in the Premier League last season and bowing out in the Champions League last 16.
Manchester United dropped one place to fifth despite a healthier revenue figure than the season before, while treble winners City were leapfrogged by Real Madrid and now sit second, despite posting a record Premier League revenue figure in their most recent accounts.
The Money League looks at revenue figures reported in clubs’ annual accounts for the 2022-23 season and does not look at operating costs.
Tottenham and Chelsea switched places compared to last year, with Spurs up one place to eighth, while Arsenal held on to 10th position.
Real led the way with revenue of £723m in 2022-23, demonstrating the club are doing well out of European football’s current ecosystem, despite their president Florentino Perez being arguably the most staunch advocate for a Super League.
Paris St Germain enter the top three for the first time, while Barcelona moved up three places to seventh with a revenue figure of £696m.
Tim Bridge, the lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told the PA news agency: “There is a point in time, a moment here, where you’ve got Real Madrid and Barcelona redeveloping their stadiums, they have made moves towards controlling much more of their operations, particularly merchandising and licensing, so those revenue figures are a result of direct changes they have made to their business model.
“When we look at the Premier League holistically we’re not 100 per cent certain the days of significant domestic growth in media rights is over, but what we can say is, without significant competition coming into that market, then single-figure percentage growth is the likely outcome in that domestic market. Therefore the focus is on what can be done in the international market.
The Premier League has completed the largest sports media rights deals ever concluded in the UK for Seasons 2025/26 through to 2028/29
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 4, 2023
“What has always underpinned the fact there have been 10 or 11 Premier League clubs in the Money League has been that the media rights growth has given them significant distributions. Other leagues have caught up and there has been a slight plateauing of Premier League rights.”
Deloitte said the top 20 clubs had earned 10.5billion euros (£9bn) collectively, a 14 per cent increase on the previous season.
Barcelona Femeni were the top-earning women’s club in the world, with revenue rising by 74 per cent to £11.6m.