Football is big business and the sport has become a money-generating machine over the past 20 years with TV deals, rapidly rising transfer fees and other lucrative revenue streams combining to create mountains of cash.
At the pinnacle of the game, the biggest clubs turn over heftier and heftier wedges each year and football’s financial might shows no sign of decreasing any time soon.
Every year, financial industry leaders Deloitte publish their Football Money League detailing the richest clubs in the world based on a number of parameters and below, we’ve taken a closer look at their rundown for 2023.
The richest football clubs in the world
10. Arsenal – €433.5m
Arsenal are one of six Premier League representatives on the list and the Gunners’ Champions League involvement next season could allow them to climb the rankings even further by next year. Matchday revenues from the 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium in London are among the league’s loftiest, while owners Stan and Josh Kroenke haven’t been shy about investing into Arsenal since Mikel Arteta’s appointment in December 2019.
9. Tottenham Hotspur – €523m
With the notoriously tight-fisted Daniel Levy calling the shots, Tottenham’s financial results are always likely to impress and though they have an enormous stadium debt to pay off, Spurs have been raking in the cash since moving into their state-of-the-art new home. With new sponsorship deals also a contributing factor, Tottenham’s income has taken a considerable jump over the past 12 months.
8. Chelsea – €568.3m
An American investment consortium got their claws into Chelsea last year and immediately pumped eye-watering sums into the team, spending close to £800 inside a 12-month transfer splurge. The Blues’ most recent accounts had a healthy look, however, it will be interesting to see how they perform next time having failed to qualify for the Champions League or indeed any continental competition.
7. Barcelona – €638.2m
La Liga heavyweights Barcelona have had some well-documented financial crises over the past year, with Los Cules activating their infamous “levers” to keep themselves in the black. However, the Catalonian giants remain one of the game’s biggest hitters in terms of revenues, due to their consistent appearances in the Champions League and the sky-high matchday funds they accrue at the 90,000-seater Camp Nou.
6. Bayern Munich – €653.6m
Bayern Munich are Germany’s most-popular team by a distance and their tight stronghold over the domestic game there has allowed them to build a rock-solid financial platform. The Bavarians are routinely among the Champions League’s most-competitive outfits too, while the sponsorship deals they attract are among the sweetest in football. Bayern’s shirt sponsorship deal with T-Mobile is worth €50m per year alone.
5. Paris St. Germain – €654.2m
Funded by swathes of Qatari cash, PSG wield as much clout as any other club in the transfer market, while many of their sponsorship contracts, especially the ones of Qatari origin, help to fill their coffers annually. Their primary shirt sponsor, Fly Emirates, pay PSG close to €70 per year alone, while the Parisians’ yearly runs to the Champions League knockout stages also help to increase the cash flowing in. Marketable players like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and ex-PSG star Lionel Messi have also done their bit to earn Paris SG the big bucks.
4. Manchester United – €688.2m
Manchester United have been slipping down the rankings in recent years, due in the main to the gross financial mismanagement of the Glazer family. With a huge principal debt to service, interest payment responsibilities and soaring salaries paid to second-tier talent, United have been a bit of a mess. However, in terms of revenues earned, the Red Devils are right up there, which suggests they could be a force to be reckoned with under the right stewardship.
3. Liverpool – €701.7m
With their Anfield expansions, Premier League performances and Champions League success all driving numbers up, Liverpool’s finances have never looked healthier, though Reds supporters would like to see owners FSG allocate more of their cash to the recruitment department. Liverpool missed out on Champions League qualification for 2023/24, however, so expect their income to dip by next year.
2. Real Madrid – €713.8m
The world’s biggest club, Real Madrid, have been listed among the globe’s richest outfits for an age and Los Blancos can draw from one of football’s deepest funds whenever a new superstar catches their eye. A series of Champions League triumphs over the past decade added more zeros to their account balance, while Real earn more than €120m each year from La Liga TV and prize money. Real’s shirt sponsorship arrangement with Emirates is also football’s most lucrative deal.
1. Manchester City – €731m
Manchester City reported record world-beating revenues again this year, placing them at the summit of Deloitte’s list ahead of their illustrious rivals. However, City’s results should always be taken with a massive pinch of salt. The Cityzens are under investigation by the Premier League for 115 alleged financial irregularities, many of which are related to artificial inflation of revenue and sponsorship streams. Nevertheless, City’s success on the pitch continues to create new wealth off it, so expect them to be loitering near the top of this list again in 12 months.