Real Madrid has topped the Money League for the first time since the 2017/18 season with record revenues of €831m. 

The 27th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League has revealed the top 20 men’s and top 15 women’s highest revenue generating football clubs for the 2022/23 season, naming Real Madrid top of the men’s league and FC Barcelona Femení top of the women’s. 

Cumulatively, Deloitte has reported record revenues of €10.5bn, an increase of 14% compared to the €9.32bn in 2021/22. This surge has been driven by record matchday (€1.9bn) and commercial revenues (€4.4bn), with the latter overtaking broadcast revenues. 

Matchday revenue has increased due to stadiums opening back up across Europe, following the COVID-19 pandemic, which was met by fans with a high demand for live sports.

However, commercial revenue has stolen the spotlight, representing the largest income stream for Money League Clubs for the first time since the 2015/16 season, with 17 of the top 20 clubs reporting YoY growth in commercial revenue. 

Last year saw Real Madrid sign a plethora of commercial deals, including sponsorships with Visit Dubai, the Saudi Investment Bank and Adobe. Meanwhile, existing partnerships such as a deal with betting operator SportyBet remained active.

In contrast, the report has highlighted that broadcast revenues only increased by 5%, which is expected due to the season falling within domestic broadcast cycles. Media appears to have been a thorn in the side of the club of late, best demonstrated by its legal dispute with La Liga.

Tim Bridge, Lead Partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, commented: “Another record-breaking year for Money League clubs represents the ongoing financial might of the football industry. A high demand for live sport is pointing towards further growth for commercial and matchday revenues, in particular.

“As clubs appear to no longer be able to rely on exponential broadcast revenue growth, creating a more commercially focused business model will support them to achieve greater control over their financial stability. This may include developing new merchandise, or non-match day events such as concerts to create new commercial offerings.”

Focusing on the men’s league leaders, Real Madrid has reported a record revenue of €831m, an addition of €118m over the year, which helped them knock Treble winners Manchester City off the top spot.

The change in positions between the Spanish and English clubs shows that European clubs are beginning to regain ground on Premier League clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain also breaking into the top three for the first time. 

Bridge added: “In the coming seasons, European clubs may look to further diversify their revenues in order to gain control over a larger proportion of their total revenue. This will enable clubs to not only protect themselves from the variability of on-pitch performance, but also wider challenging macroeconomic conditions and changes to the football system.

“At a time when clubs face a greater degree of financial regulation, striking the right balance between securing the best on-pitch talent with sustaining a sound financial foundation through commercial activities will be key.”

Like last year, FC Barcelona Femení has secured top position in the women’s league, with an impressive revenue of €13.4m, a YoY growth of 74%. To put that statistic into perspective, the average revenue for the women’s league was €4.3m.

Amy Clarke, Women’s Sport Lead in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, commented: “Significant levels of financial growth were recorded in the 2022/23 season across the top-tiers of European women’s football. 

“A rise in the number of women’s matches playing at clubs’ main stadia boosted matchday revenues, while increased viewership and individual partnerships helped to accelerate the commercialisation of the game.”

Development of women’s football is apparent, Deloitte has reported a 61% YoY growth in women’s revenue. Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid are leading the way. However, all 15 clubs assessed have increased revenues from the previous season.

Clarke added: “Women’s football is beginning to tell the tale of growth, but that growth is not confined by a single business model. Each club is exploring its own unique way to maximise revenues within the current structure of the game.”

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