Football Money League Reveals Covid’s €2bn Hit To Clubs

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimates that Football Money League clubs will miss out on revenue of over €2bn by end of the 2020/21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.



The 20 highest revenue generating clubs in world football will have missed out on over €2bn in revenue by the end of the 2020/21 season, according to the 24th edition of the Football Money League published by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.


The impact of Covid on football’s finances has been stark among England’s top clubs. According to the report, Manchester United’s revenue decreased by 19% (€131.1m – £118.1m), to €580.4m (£509m) the largest year-on-year decline in this year’s Money League. This was largely due to the Red Devils not competing in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League as well as being affected by the absence of matchday revenue and broadcast rebates and deferrals.


On the other hand, Liverpool entered the top five for the first time since 2001/02 with revenue of €558.6m (£489.9m) largely driven by their on-pitch success which continues to fuel financial success. Their city rivals Everton also saw marginal revenue growth driven by the club’s commercial revenue more than doubling to €86.7m (£76m). This was the largest growth (104%) in commercial revenue across all Money League clubs.


Manchester City (6th – €549.2m / £481.6m), Chelsea (8th €469.7m / £411.9m), and Tottenham Hotspur (9th – €445.7m / £390.9m) all retain their places in the top ten but each reported significant falls in revenue.


Under normal circumstances, clubs typically have a financial year-end that aligns with their domestic season (May or June for most European leagues). The disruption to the 2019/20 football season and the differing approaches by the various leagues, broadcasters and commercial partners have resulted in clubs’ revenue generated in respect of the 2019/20 season being spread across two financial years ending in 2020 and 2021. The majority of Deloitte’s analysis in this year’s Money League is focused on the financial year ending 2020.


Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Leagues across the world took different approaches in response to the pandemic with respect to their seasons, ranging from postponement to termination, with final standings determined using different methodologies, to others being annulled entirely.


“There is no doubt that this is one of the most testing times the football industry has ever had to endure. The absence of fans, postponement and cancellation of matches, rebates to broadcasters and the need to satisfy commercial partners have all significantly affected the compilation of the 2021 Football Money League. As a result, the comparability of relative performance between clubs in this year’s Money League is more challenging than usual.”


As the report shows, despite the 20 highest earning football clubs in the world generated €8.2bn of combined revenue in 2019/20, this was down 12% on the prior season (€9.3bn). The decrease is largely attributed to a €937m (23%) drop in broadcast revenue, primarily due to the deferral of broadcast revenue into the financial year ending in 2021 and broadcaster rebates related to the disrupted 2019/20 season.


A further €257m (17%) was lost in matchday revenue as matches were first postponed, then either cancelled or resumed behind closed doors and thus irrecoverable. However, this was offset by a €105m (3%) increase in commercial revenue, reflecting the commencement of several major commercial arrangements across Money League clubs in 2019/20.


Jones added: “Whilst no football club has been immune to the challenges of Covid-19, and other clubs have suffered more in relative terms, those in the Money League have borne the greatest financial impact in absolute value terms. In this year’s edition, the top 20 clubs generated an average of €409m per club, a decline of €55m compared to 2018/19 (€464m per club).


“The safe return of fans to stadia in significant numbers is one of the highest priorities across global football. Matchday operations are a cornerstone of a club’s business model and help drive other revenue-generating activity. Fans’ absence will be more fully reflected in next year’s Money League. The final size of the financial impact of the pandemic on football will depend, in no small part, on the timing and scale of fans’ return.”


Tim Bridge, director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has provided an impetus for clubs to rethink and recalibrate their wider strategic objectives and business models to ensure a strong recovery from the current situation.


“In particular, the focus on both internal and external digital capabilities has accelerated as digital interaction has become the dominant way in which clubs can engage with their employees and fans. The most agile, and innovative clubs will be the best placed to deliver the greater value to their key stakeholders and be rewarded with the fastest and strongest recovery.”


Despite the losses incurred by most clubs, Jones was confident that they would rebound in the coming years. He concluded: “We remain strong believers in the fundamental value of top-level football to fans, broadcasters and other commercial partners. We are confident in the resilience of the industry and expect it to bounce back strongly in future years.


“The events of the past year have challenged the ability of clubs to drive their own revenue growth. Any short term ambitions they may have had will likely only be achievable as medium term goals once fans return to stadia and the effect of the pandemic on the global economy and the path to recovery from it becomes clearer.


“The full financial impact of COVID-19 may not be realised for years to come, with continued uncertainty forcing existing and potential broadcast and commercial partners to consider their investment into sport. Positively for the Football Money League clubs, the global pandemic has highlighted the importance of sport to communities and wider society, reinforcing its fundamental strengths and value to broadcasters and sponsors.”


Position (last year’s position)


2019/20 Revenue (€m) (2018/19 Revenue)

2019/20 Revenue (£m) (2018/19 Revenue)

2019/20 Revenue ($m) (2018/19 Revenue)

1 (1)

FC Barcelona

715.1 (840.8)

627.1 (741.1)

790.5 (959.3)

2 (2)

Real Madrid

714.9 (757.3)

627 (667.5)

790.3 (864)

3 (4)

Bayern Munich

634.1 (660.1)

556.1 (581.8)

701 (753.1)

4 (3)

Manchester United

580.4 (711.5)

509 (627.1)

641.6 (811.7)

5 (7)


558.6 (604.7)

489.9 (533)

617.5 (689.9)

6 (6)

Manchester City

549.2 (610.6)

481.6 (538.2)

607 (696.6)

7 (5)

Paris Saint-Germain

540.6 (635.9)

474.1 (560.5)

597.6 (725.5)

8 (9)


469.7 (513.1)

411.9 (452.2)

519.2 (585.3)

9 (8)

Tottenham Hotspur

445.7 (521.1)

390.9 (459.3)

492.7 (594.5)

10 (10)


397.9 (459.7)

349 (405.2)

439.9 (524.5)

11 (11)


388 (445.2)

340.3 (392.4)

428.9 (507.9)

12 (12)

Borussia Dortmund

365.7 (371.7)

320.7 (327.6)

404.3 (424.1)

13 (13)

Atlético de Madrid

331.8 (367.6)

291 (324)

366.8 (419.4)

14 (14)


291.5 (364.6)

255.6 (321.3)

322.2 (416)

15 (28)

FC Zenit

236.5 (180.4)

207.4 (159)

261.4 (205.8)

16 (15)

Schalke 04

222.8 (324.8)

195.4 (286.3)

246.3 (370.6)

17 (19)


212 (210.5)

185.9 (185.5)

234.3 (240.1)

18 (17)

Olympique Lyonnais

180.7 (220.9)

158.5 (194.7)

199.8 (252)

19 (20)


176.3 (207.4)

154.6 (182.8)

194.9 (236.6)

20 (27)

Eintracht Frankfurt

174 (182.2)

152.6 (160.6)

192.4 (207.9)


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