Football is highly lucrative, with clubs and other stakeholders generating huge revenues from different sources like tickets sales, TV rights, shirt sales, transfers, and sponsorships, among others.
The revenues generated by football clubs increase yearly as more avenues of making money are discovered. But the Covid-19 pandemic significantly affected the finances of most clubs, and they are still recovering from its effects.
While it’s very difficult to ascertain the exact sums that clubs are making, the most reliable source of determining the richest football clubs in the Deloitte Football Money League (DFML) is.
The DFML profiles the financial performance of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football.
Here are the top 10 richest football clubs in the world according to the Deloitte Football Money League rankings.
English Premier League clubs accounted for roughly 50% of the money generated among Europe’s “top five” league clubs.
1. Manchester City (€644.9m)
For the first time in history, a club apart from Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United are topping the DFML. The trio have always been occupying the top spot, rotating it among each other.
Man City have been shrewd in their businesses in the post-covid era and are now reaping the rewards.
In 2022, the Citizens incredibly moved five places up in this ranking from sixth place to first place.
City’s rise could also be attributed to their super-rich Abu Dhabi owners. There are controversies surrounding the club’s finances, though, as the owners have severally been linked to some of the club’s sponsors (most especially Etihad Airways).
2. Real Madrid (€640.7m)
Like other top European clubs, the coronavirus pandemic affected Real Madrid’s finances which prompted the club to try to form a “Super League” alongside some elite clubs.
Although the plan woefully failed, Madrid still retain their place among the top three in DFML rankings.
3. Bayern Munich (€611.4m)
The Bavarians are one of the few elite clubs that rejected the idea of forming a Super League. Bayern have smartly replaced their ageing squad with younger players without embarking on a spending spree.
The German champions have broken into the top three this year.
4. Barcelona (€582.1m)
Barcelona were the richest club last year and topped the DFML ranking. But Covid-19 and gross financial mismanagement by the club’s last administration plunged the Catalans into a €1.2 billion debt.
It affected them so much that they couldn’t afford to renew the contract of their greatest player in history, Lionel Messi.
The Argentine left the club on a free transfer last summer.
Barcelona are gradually recovering under their new President, Joan Laporta. They’ve signed a huge financial deal with music streaming giant Spotify, which will make the club rename their iconic stadium to Spotify Camp Nou, among other sponsorship agreements.
5. Manchester United (€588m)
Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and no wonder why the club turns in huge revenues yearly.
But financial mismanagement — especially in player recruitment — is affecting the club, and they dropped out of the top three richest clubs in 2022
6. PSG (€556.2m)
Despite spending big to sign the likes of Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnaruma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, etc in the summer, PSG still remain among the top richest clubs thanks to their super-rich Qatari owners.
7. Liverpool (€550.4m)
Liverpool are very shrewd when it comes to financial planning. The Reds rarely spend excessively in the financial market but always try to identify players that will fit exactly into their system.
Their success on the field in recent years has greatly increased their revenues.
8. Chelsea (€493.1m)
Chelsea might be going through a lot at the moment due to the sanctions on their owner, Roman Abramovich, and the imminent sale of the club. But they still remain in the top 10 in the DFML ranking.
How the club’s new owners invest in it will determine whether the Blues will go up or down next year.
9. Juventus (€433.5m)
Juventus owners, Exor Group, have invested massively in the club this season to cushion the effects of Covid-19 on the club’s finances.
Juve have also gotten rid of Cristiano Ronaldo, whose huge salaries take a toll on the club’s revenues.
10. Tottenham (€406.2m)
Tottenham have significantly improved both on and off the field in the last decade. The club now regularly competes in European competitions and even reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2019, losing to Liverpool.
Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, is a very shrewd businessman and always ensures that the club gets maximum profits when selling players and are also smart when recruiting players.
Tottenham’s new gigantic stadium (which also hosts NFL matches) has been generating huge revenues for the club.
CLUBS THAT MAKE UP THE TOP 20 RICHEST FOOTBALL CLUBS:
11. Arsenal (€366.5m)
12. Borussia Dortmund (€337.6m)
13. Athletico Madrid (€332.8m)
14. Inter Milan (€330.9m)
15. Leicester City (€255.5m)
16. West Ham United (€221.5m)
17. Wolves (€219.2m)
18. Everton (€218.1m)
19. Zenith St. Petersburg (€212m)
20. Aston Villa (€207.3m)