Manchester United regained first place in the Deloitte Football Money League, ending the 11-year run of Real Madrid.
Deloitte said record revenue of €689 million (about £515 million) for Manchester United reflected strong growth across its three revenue categories — matchday, broadcast and commercial — boosted by the club’s return to the UEFA Champions League and new commercial partnerships.
FC Barcelona (€620.2 million) and Real Madrid (€620.1 million) completed the Money League top three. Bayern Munich was in fourth position with €592 of revenue.
Aggregate revenue for the top 20 Money League clubs rose 12% to €7.4 billion (£5.5 billion) in 2015-16, a new record.
Manchester City climb to fifth, the first time it has been in the top five of the Money League.
Leicester City took its place as the 20th highest revenue-generating club in world football, lifted by its title-winning campaign.
Leicester’s 2015-16 revenue of €172.1 million (£128.7 million) is almost five times as much as the revenue it made in the 2013-14 season.
Eight English Premier League clubs made the top 20, with revenues totalling nearly €3.2 billion (£2.4 billion).
With English Premier League clubs set to enjoy record television contracts in 2016-17, Deloitte said there is a strong chance that almost all of them will be in the top 30 money clubs next year.
“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,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.
“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 FC 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.”
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham remained in seventh, eighth, ninth and 12th respectively.
West Ham United was 18th.
Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte, said: “The Money League continues to demonstrate the Premier League’s financial strength in depth.
“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.”