Who to take the lead in the Football (Money) Champions League?
More than Champions League return matches, perhaps the future of European club football is at stake.
Between a Real Madrid leader of the Super League project, the Liverpool of the first American investors (at the time of resale?), the hegemonic Bayern Munich, the PSG case study of National Branding, we no longer count the points , visions and alliances of circumstances that oppose them. But each year, they are found (unbeknownst to their own free will) in Deloitte’s Football Money League. The opportunity to look back on the major trends and issues in the economy of the main clubs which set the tempo of an entire industry, even more so since the COVID period.
The effects of the pandemic in football will ultimately not have lasted over time. At least for the 20 biggest teams (all from the European Big 5), studied under the magnifying glass by the Big 4 global audit and consulting firm, Deloitte. Because in this championship as prestigious as it is virtual, cumulative revenues amount to €9.2 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year, down by only a few million compared to the last full season 2018/2019, and up by €1 billion compared to covid year 2020/2021. The performance is all the more remarkable as the health measures specific to each country did not allow all the clubs concerned to fully exploit their stadium last season, particularly in Italy.
On average on the Money League, “matchday” revenues, including those linked to match days such as ticketing, therefore fell due to health constraints compared to their 2019 level (-€7 million), but were very exactly offset by the increase commercial income (+€7 million), driven in large part by English clubs. Five members of the English Big 6 have in fact recorded an increase of at least 15% in this category, thanks to new partnerships, the operation of stadiums outside matches once again possible and, in a heterogeneous way, a favorable exchange rate over the period… Broadcasting rights, the amount of which for 2021 should be concealed since it is a purely accounting allocation of carry-overs from the 2020/2021 season, almost regained a pre-crisis level.
In detail, and for the first time in this Top 20, more than 50% of the clubs are English. Better still, 80% of Premier League clubs (16 precisely) appear in the Top 30. It remains to be seen when the Top 30 will include all the teams in the most popular championship in the world… In addition to the 11 clubs in Sa Majesty, the ranking includes among the major European championships 5 Spanish clubs, 3 Italian, 3 German and 1 French, Paris-Saint-Germain. Significant performance for the capital club which points to 5th ranks with €654m, and has the highest matchday (€132m) and commercial (€383m) revenues in the League. Their only handicap therefore comes from the low monetization of Ligue 1 and its difficulty in performing in Europe, since its distribution income (€139m) remains very far behind the last finalists Real Madrid (€308m) and Liverpool ( €314 million).
Symbol of this outrageous domination, Manchester City (1st with €731m) took advantage of the health difficulties to recover his health. Increasing its income by €120 million since the 2018/2019 season, the Citizens confirm their pole position ahead of Real Madrid (€714 million), which has seen its turnover decline by €43 million at the same time. City offers itself the record for commercial income in the Premier League, with €373 million in 2021/2022, an increase of 21% compared to the previous season.
The same is true for Liverpool and Chelsea, who have earned an additional €97 and €55 million respectively since the 2018/2019 season. The Reds (3th with €702 million) thus recorded a historic rise in the rankings, going from 7th at the 3th place, in particular thanks to his sporting performance last year crowned with a second place in the league and a final in the Champions League. It is also one of the 5 clubs which records more than 100 million € in matchday income (112 M€) in an Anfield in the process of being enlarged, behind Tottenham (125 M€) and therefore Paris-Saint-Germain , for whom the question of the stadium seems far from being resolved…
A strong economic-sporting correlation
New in the ranking for 3 years, the top 10 has changed, Juventus having given way to Arsenal. The Gunners benefit from a ticket office 3 times larger than the Transalpins, who, like their compatriot Inter, see their total income decrease over 1 year, handicapped by long-term Italian health measures and by internal affairs very boring court cases.
The performance of West Ham (15th with €301 million) is also noteworthy. On the strength of their good European course last year (1/2 final of the Europa League), the Hammers recorded a 40% increase in their turnover between the 2018/2019 and 2021/2022 seasons for a payroll steady. The presence in this Top 20 of Leeds (18th with €223 million) also reveals the power of the English championship. Returned from the Premier League at the end of the 2019-2020 season, the Pea****s have multiplied their income by 3.4 in 2 years, benefiting greatly from the stratospheric windfall of the championship’s TV rights: €137 million (67% of turnover) , almost the same amount as PSG…
In contrast, the biggest drop comes from Catalonia. If the Barca move from 4th to 7th place this year, he still monopolized the first in 2019 and 2020. It must be said that the Blaugrana’s European course has greatly deteriorated in recent years until their elimination in the group stage of the Champions League last year. Consequence: -24% in revenue in 4 years (€841 million in 2018 vs €638 million in 2022), a partly sporting collapse. The broad partnership initiated since this season with Spotify should nevertheless soften the results of the Catalans, who were again taken out of the Champions League in the group stage.
Brought up to date, the Deloitte ranking is rather consistent with the sporting performance of the teams concerned. In this Top 20, 16 teams competed in one of the European cups. Another symbol of the all-powerful promotion of English clubs, the 4 teams present in this virtual championship and absent from the European scene this year, play in the Premier League: Leicester, which ended last season at the gates of Europe, Leeds , which ended up at the gates of relegation, Everton, which did little better, and Newcastle, 11th.
It is also on the sports field that, on the contrary, Benfica and Ajax shine. Pointing respectively to the 24th and 27th place, the only 2 members of the Top 30 outside the European Big 5 championship benefit from a respectable European course last season with a ¼ final for the first and a 1/8th final for the second. Something to remember that good or poor financial performance always reflects on the lawns, and that in “sport business”, there is “sport”!