Top 10 Richest Football Clubs In The World (2023)
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 (£619.1m)
For the first time in history, a club apart from Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United are topping the DFML for two years in a row. The trio have always been occupying the top spot, rotating it among each other.
Manchester City have been shrewd in their businesses in the post-covid era and are now reaping the rewards.
In 2022, City made £619.1m, a 13% increase on the £571.1m made the previous year.
£373m was generated from commercial deals, £294m from broadcast rights and £64m from matchday revenue.
This represents a rapid rise for the club, who only broke into the top 5 richest clubs for the first time in 2015/16.
Moreover, Man City’s massive financial growth in terms of commercial revenue (up £65m to £373m in 2021/22) is a new Premier League record.
The recently-crowned 2022/23 English Premier League champions’ 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 (£604.5m)
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.
Real Madrid made £604.5m in 2022, which is an 11% increase to the £567.3m made in 2021.
Breaking it down; £318m was generated from commercial deals, £308m from broadcast, while £88m was from matchday revenue.
On the pitch, Real Madrid won the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League in 2022. They also lifted the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey in 2023.
3. Liverpool (£594.3m)
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.
Liverpool has had an outstanding year, generating £235m from commercial deals and £268m from TV rights.
Additionally, they brought in an impressive £91m in matchday revenue, which is a first for the club. This success can be attributed to the return of fans to stadiums, which has boosted revenue significantly.
Looking ahead, Liverpool’s matchday revenue is expected to continue increasing, with the completion of the Anfield Road Stand expansion scheduled for the 2023/24 season. The future is certainly looking bright for Liverpool.
Despite their poor performance in the 2022/23 season, Liverpool are still one of the best soccer teams in the world.
4. Manchester United (£583.2m)
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.
Manchester United made a profit of £583.2m in 2021/22, which is a significant 23% increase compared to the previous year’s profit of £494.1m.
The profit was generated from various sources, including £309m from commercial deals, £254m from broadcast, and £126m from matchday.
Apart from their revenue, Manchester United are also one of the football clubs with the most debts in the world.
5. PSG (£554m)
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.
They have one of the highest wage bills in Europe.
With an impressive 18% growth from the previous year, they made £554m in revenue last year. This included £383m from commercial revenues, £139m from broadcast, and £132m from matchday.
Their success in generating revenue can be attributed to their strong commercial partnerships and sponsorships, as well as their ability to attract a global audience through broadcasting.
The significant revenue from matchday sales also highlights the dedication of their fans. Overall, their financial success is a testament to the strength of their brand and their ability to compete at the highest level.
6. Bayern Munich (£553.5m)
The Bavarians are one of the football clubs with the most trophies ever and 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.
Bayern has established a reputation for maintaining a sustainable, consistent and reliable business model over the years.
In 2022, they continued this trend by generating an impressive £553.5m in revenue, representing a 7% increase from the previous year’s £541.4m.
Their success can be attributed to their strong sponsorship partnerships with reputable brands such as Allianz, Adidas, and Audi, which contributed significantly to their commercial revenue of £378m in the last 12 months.
Furthermore, they generated £207m from broadcast rights and £68m from matchday revenue.
7. Barcelona (£540.5m)
Barcelona were the richest club in 2021 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.
Barcelona terribly fell in the DFML rankings, with the club dropping from 4th (in 2022) to 7th in 2023.
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 two summers.
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.
In 2022, Barca generated an impressive £540.5m in revenue, representing a 10% increase from the previous year’s £515.4m.
However, their fall on the list of richest clubs in 2023 can be attributed to a 13% decline in broadcast revenues. They generated £251m from TV rights, which was lower than the £290m made in 2021.
The decline in Barcelona’s broadcast revenue can be partially attributed to their underperformance in UEFA club competitions last season, in comparison to previous years.
The club’s embarrassing exit from the Champions League at the group stage in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons are likely to have impacted their broadcast revenue.
Nevertheless, Barcelona’s strong brand and global fanbase remain a significant source of revenue for the club.
8. Chelsea (£481.3m)
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.
Last season, Chelsea generated an impressive £481.3m in revenue, representing a significant 15% increase from the previous season’s £436.6m.
Their success can be attributed to their strong commercial transactions, which brought in £209m, as well as their broadcast revenue of £277m and matchday revenue of £82m.
Despite finishing 3rd in the Premier League and losing both finals of the FA Cup and League Cup, Chelsea’s run to the quarterfinals of the Champions League helped boost their revenue.
Additionally, Todd Boehly’s new ownership seems determined to continue spending heavily, much like the Roman Abramovich era.
Nonetheless, their poor performance in the Premier League which saw them miss any of the European spots could see Chelsea drop off from the richest football clubs in the world
9. Tottenham (£442.8m)
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.
Their financial success continues to grow, with an impressive 29% increase in revenue from the previous year.
In 2022, they generated £442.8m in total revenue, with commercial deals contributing £215m, TV broadcast rights contributing £182m, and matchday revenue contributing £125m.
Tottenham’s new gigantic stadium (which also hosts NFL matches) has been generating huge revenues for the club.
10. Arsenal (£367.1m)
In a remarkable achievement, Arsenal has crashed into the top 10 richest football clubs in the world for the first time since 2018/19, replacing Juventus, who fell from 9th to 11th.
Arsenal’s financial success can be attributed to their strong commercial revenue streams, which include lucrative sponsorships and partnerships with major brands.
Their ownership by Stan Kroenke, who is worth $8.3 billion, has also provided significant financial backing for the club.
As a result, Arsenal has been able to compete with some of the biggest teams in the world.
In 2022, Arsenal generated £367.1m in total revenue, representing an impressive 18% increase from the previous year’s £324.5m.
Their commercial partnerships contributed £167m, broadcast rights contributed £172m, and matchday revenue contributed £94m.
CLUBS THAT MAKE UP THE TOP 20 RICHEST FOOTBALL CLUBS:
11. Juventus (£339.3m)
12. Atletico Madrid (£333.6m)
13. Borussia Dortmund (£302.2m)
14. Inter Milan (£261.2m)
15. West Ham United (£255.1m)
16. AC Milan (£221.4m)
17. Leicester City (£213.6m)
18. Leeds United (£189.2m)
19. Everton (£181m)
20. Newcastle United (£179.8m).
As you can see, out of the 20 clubs, an impressive 11 are from the Premier League, showcasing the strength of the English teams.
La Liga and Serie A follow closely behind with three representatives each, while the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 have two and one respectively.
It’s worth noting that three English teams have secured spots in the top five, while Barcelona, previously the richest club in 2021, have now dropped to seventh in the latest ranking.
Germany’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made the cut, alongside France’s sole representative, PSG.
Although Juventus remains the wealthiest club in Italy, they have fallen out of the top 10 globally, trailing behind Tottenham and Arsenal from London.