The 24th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League report for January 2021 released recently shows FC Barcelona holding on to the top club position for the 2019/20 season, with $715.1 million revenue, having dethroned Real Madrid from the top position in the preceding year.
The Deloitte Football Money League, profiling the highest earning clubs around the world, provides the most contemporary and reliable independent analysis of clubs’ relative financial performance.
Deloitte estimate that the clubs in this year’s Money League will have missed out on over €2 billion of revenue across the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. This is primarily driven by matchday revenue, due to the absence of fans, but also rebates to broadcasters and some commercial impacts as well as the lost potential to continue their previous growth trajectory over the period.
The full impact of COVID-19 may not be realised for years to come, with the associated uncertainty forcing existing and potential broadcast and commercial partners to consider the amount they are willing and able to invest in sport.
Published just six months after the end of the disrupted 2019/20 season, the Money League is the most contemporary and reliable independent analysis of the clubs’ relative financial performance. The key findings of the recent edition are:
- The top 20 clubs generated a combined €8.2 billion in 2019/20, down 12% on the prior season (€9.3 billion).
- This €1.1 billion decrease is explained by:
- a €937m (23%) drop in broadcast revenue, primarily due to the deferral of broadcast revenues to the financial year ending in 2020 and broadcaster rebates related to the disrupted 2019/20 season;
- a €257m (17%) fall in matchday revenue as matches were first postponed and then either cancelled or resumed behind closed doors; and
- offset by a €105m (3%) increase in commercial revenue, reflecting the commencement of several major commercial arrangements across Money League clubs in 2019/20.
- Deloitte Money League estimate that this year’s Money League clubs will have missed out on over €2 billion in revenue by the end of the 2020/21 season, including amounts foregone in respect of 2019/20, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily due to:
- Matchday revenue of Money League clubs being close to nil from March 2020 onwards, with fans unlikely to be able to return in significant numbers for any of the 2020/21 season; and
- Broadcast rebates of the ‘big five’ leagues and UEFA reportedly total almost €1.2bn currently, of which a large proportion is borne by Money League clubs; and
- The lost potential to continue their previous growth trajectory over the period.
Source: Deloitte Money League
Despite the significantly different conditions reported in this year’s publication, the Money League composition has remained broadly consistent with previous years, illustrating both the ubiquitous global impact of the pandemic and the robustness of the revenue generating capacity of the most established clubs. The constituents of the top ten remain unchanged, whilst 18 of the 20 clubs were present in last year’s Money League.
FC Barcelona (€715.1m) and Real Madrid (€714.9m) are again paired together at the top of this year’s Money League, with the gap between the top two of €0.2m being the closest in Money League history. This was remarkable following last year having the widest gap ever between the top two clubs in the Money League ranking.
#1 FC Barcelona; FC Barcelona’s revenue was severely impacted by COVID-19 with total revenue decreasing €125.7m (15%) to €715.1m, the second largest revenue fall in absolute terms of any Money League club.
#2 Real Madrid FC; Real Madrid’s revenue fell by €42.4m (6%) to €714.9m, largely attributable to the impact
of COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, matchday revenue was the most severely impacted, falling by €36.6m (25%) to €108.2m, whilst broadcast revenue also slipped by €33.9m (13%) to €224m. Impressively, commercial revenue increased by €28.1m (8%) to €382.7m, influenced by the extension of the club’s partnership with adidas to 2028, and increased success in merchandising operations.
#3 Bayern Munich; Bayern Munich celebrated its 120th anniversary with a coveted treble of the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League, helping to deliver the lowest overall revenue decrease (4%) of the Money
League top ten. Despite the impacts of COVID-19, Bayern actually saw an increase in commercial revenue of €4m to €360.5m, representing 57% of total revenue (€634.1m).
The club also benefitted from being able to recognise the majority of its domestic broadcast revenue in the financial year ending in 2020 due to the earlier completion of the Bundesliga season.
#4 Manchester United; Revenue of £509m represents a £118.1m (19%) decrease on 2018/19. £101m (86%) of this decrease is represented by broadcast revenue, the absence of Champions League football and resultant UEFA distributions and the impact of COVID-19 – with the deferral of matches into the financial year ending in 2021 and rebates to broadcasters – being the primary causes of this decline.
Matchday revenue also fell by £19.6m as a consequence of COVID-19, with all home matches from mid-March being played behind closed doors and all bar one of these being deferred into the financial year ending in 2021.
#5 Liverpool FC; Liverpool returned to the top five in the Money League for the first time since 2001/02 with total revenue of £489.9m, a £43.1m (8%) decrease compared to 2018/19. On the pitch, the club decisively ended its 30-year wait for a league title, combined with success in the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup and continued participation in the Champions League.
This collectively drove a £27.6m increase in commercial revenue as well as delivering the second highest broadcast revenue of Money League clubs (£203.9m), boosted by the recognition of UEFA distributions in respect of the Champions League Final triumph played at the beginning of the financial year ending in 2020.
#6 Manchester City FC; An 11% decrease in revenue for Manchester City was driven by a £13.3m (24%) decrease in matchday revenue and a £62.9m (25%) decrease in broadcast revenue, both of which were partly offset by a £19.6m (9%) increase in commercial revenue.
Commercial revenue growth was largely attributable to the club’s new deal with technical kit provider Puma, the long-term agreement providing a stepchange in revenue from the previous deal with Nike, as well as the commencement of the agreement with training kit partner, Marathonbet.
#7 Paris Saint-Germain; The 2019/20 season saw Paris SaintGermain celebrate its 50th anniversary with arguably its most successful season ever as the club secured a domestic treble and reached the Champions League Final for the first time.
Despite the on-pitch success, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the club experienced decreases across all revenue streams as overall revenue fell by €95.3m (15%) to €540.6m.
Matchday revenue declined by €23.5m (20%) following the early end to the season as the club had to refund its c.35k season ticket holders as well as losing out on c.13k ticket sales per match. Broadcast revenue fell by only €7m (4%) directly linked with the deferral of UEFA broadcast distributions in respect of the latter stages of the Champions League to the financial year ending in 2021.
Domestically, the state-guaranteed loan secured by the LFP was enough to sustain the expected domestic broadcast distributions, despite abandoning the 2019/20 season with PSG having 11 games to play.
#8 Chelsea FC; Chelsea’s revenue fell by £40.3m (9%) to £411.9m, as the club experienced a decline across all revenue streams. Proportionally, matchday revenue was the most impacted, falling by £12.1m (18%), due to a complete loss of ticket (and other matchday) revenue for the affected games, with rebates or credits being provided to fans for Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League games played behind closed doors.
Despite a return to the Champions League, reaching the Round of 16 (2018/19: Europa League winners), overall broadcast revenue reduced by £17.7m (9%). This is largely attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the extension of the 2019/20 season resulting in the deferral of a proportion of domestic and some UEFA broadcast distributions into the financial year ending in 2021.
#9 Tottenham Hotspur; In the first full season in the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Tottenham recorded total revenue of £390.9m, a decrease of £68.4m (15%) compared to 2018/19.
This decline was driven by a £108m (44%) fall in broadcast revenue primarily due to the deferral of the 2019/20 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of this decrease was also in relation to on-pitch performance, with the club only reaching the Round of 16 of the Champions League compared to the Final in the previous season.
#10 Juventus; Juventus’ revenue fell by €61.8m (13%) to €397.9m, despite the club capturing its ninth consecutive league title and its continued participation in the Champions League. This was largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing declines in matchday and broadcast revenue of €23.3m (36%) and €41.8m (20%) respectively.
The 36% decline in matchday revenue is the largest percentage decline in matchday revenue of all Money League clubs.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur