Manchester United have been dethroned as world football’s biggest earners after slipping to third behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in Deloitte’s annual report into club revenues.
The drop notwithstanding, the financial strength of the Premier League was well on show as English clubs provided six of the top 10 in the accountancy experts’ money league, a record from a single country.
United pulled in £581m in 2017-18, a fall of £8.8m on the previous season. The report’s authors found that United, despite returning to the Champions League last season, received broadly similar sums from Uefa as they did from winning the Europa League in 2016-17.
Madrid, meanwhile, moved from second to first by increasing revenues by more than £85m to £665.2m off the back of a third consecutive Champions League title and a big uplift in sponsorship, merchandising and the exploitation of increasingly lucrative pre-season fixtures.
Barcelona made it a Spanish one-two with revenues of just over £611m, a rise of more than £50m, after signing a new shirt sponsorship with a Japanese e-commerce company and winning La Liga.
“European football remains a bull market, with annual revenue growth of almost €450m [approximately £390m],” said Dan Jones, a Deloitte partner.
“Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017-18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles. This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever.”
English clubs continued to perform strongly off the pitch with Manchester City (£503.5m) remaining in fifth position and Liverpool (£455m) climbing from ninth to seventh after increasing revenues by more than £90m following their run to last year’s Champions League final.
Chelsea (£448m), Arsenal (£389m) and Tottenham (£379m) were eighth, ninth and 10th respectively, with the Gunners losing nearly £30m in revenues after failing to qualify for the Champions League.