Off the Pitch

Manchester United record highest ever revenue to replace Real Madrid as world´s richest club

Manchester United enjoyed the highest revenues ever recorded by a football club last season as unprecedented income returned them to the top of the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time since 2004 at Real Madrid’s expense.

The 20-time English champions generated a dizzying €689million thanks largely to a commercial earning growth of €100m.

Madrid have slipped to third place, behind Barcelona, who stay second. All three top clubs broke the €600m barrier for revenue last term.

Manchester City have climbed into the top five for the first time, behind fourth-place Bayern Munich, while Leicester City have broken into the top 20 for the first time following their Premier League title win and qualification for the Champions League.

The 20 highest earning clubs in the world generated €7.4bn of revenue in 2015-16, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year. The eight Premier League clubs in the top 20 generated close to half of that amount (€3.2bn).

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world’s leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this.

“In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.

“That said, they’ll face strong competition from Barcelona and Real Madrid to retain the top spot in next year’s edition, due to the lack of Champions League football, the weakening of the pound against the Euro and, over the longer term, as other clubs enter the commercial market demanding similar deals, using United as the precedent.”

Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte, believes the latest table highlights the financial might of the Premier League but says Leicester’s rise to 20th shows the value of team success.

“The Money League continues to demonstrate the Premier League’s financial strength in depth,” he said. “The appearance of Leicester City shows that on-pitch success gives any Premier League team a chance of a position in the top 20.

“With Leicester having already qualified for the round of 16 in this year’s UEFA Champions League competition, we can expect to see them maintain their position in the top 20 and potentially climb a few places.”

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