Ferran Soriano has signalled Manchester City’s determination to dominate the English football landscape and finally crack Europe after they became only the second British club in history to surpass £500 million in annual revenues.
The Premier League champions have reported turnover of £500.50 million for 2017/18, a 44 per cent rise in five years and a near six fold increase in the 10 seasons since the club was bought by Arab billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
It leaves City trailing only Manchester United in revenue terms among the Premier League elite. United, who posted a turnover of £581 million for 2016/17, are due to publish their latest annual report on Tuesday week when revenues are expected to have stayed at a similar level.
City are only the fifth club in Europe to reach £500 million in annual revenues after United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, a reflection of their dramatic rise to power under Abu Dhabi ownership.
Arsenal are England’s third biggest club in revenue terms with a turnover of £427 million for 2016/17. Having become the first top flight English club in history to amass 100 points in a single season under Pep Guardiola last term, Soriano, the City chief executive, outlined their desire to become the first Premier League side for a decade to retain the title and make a leap into the Champions League.
City were eliminated 5-1 on aggregate at the quarter-final stage by Liverpool last season and have never progressed beyond the last four.
“We recognise that the sporting challenge continues,” Soriano said. “Consistent domestic success and further development in the Champions League will be our focus in 2018-19 and the seasons to come”.
Soriano added that last season had marked “a milestone in the implementation of our long-term strategic journey”, which was founded on a “wish to be a club that wins trophies by playing beautiful football”.
City posted a profit of £10.4 million, the fourth season running the club have returned a profit after heavy losses early in the Sheikh’s ownership, with chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak describing “most of the developments visible today” as the “result of a carefully crafted strategy” over the past 10 years.
“Our aim is obviously to build on the achievements of the last year. We will always strive for more,” Al-Mubarak said. “Our journey is not complete and we have more targets to fulfil.
“There should be no doubt that we are looking forward to the challenges of the new season and those beyond it with equal commitment and determination to the ten seasons that came before.”
City’s wage bill increased from £244 million for 2016/17 to £260 million – the second highest in the top flight behind United – but the wage to turnover ratio dropped from 56 per cent to 52 per cent, despite City employing an additional 124 staff.
City took on a further 57 staff on the football side last season as operations expanded significantly under Guardiola. An additional 67 staff were appointed on the commercial side of the business as the club continue to grow off the field.
Commercial revenues were up 7 per cent to £232.3 million from £218 million, with the club thought to have banked around £10 million for the Amazon Prime documentary series, All or Nothing, which aired in August. Broadcast revenues were up to £211.4 million from £203.4 million. Matchday income increased from £51.8 million to £56.6 million.
“Ten years ago, the idea that 2018 would bring a fourth consecutive profitable year for Manchester City, may well have been rejected as fanciful by some commentators,” Al-Mubarak said. “That is the reality today as revenues once again reach record levels – breaking through the £500m barrier for the first time – whilst more than 400 male and female players train and play in world-class facilities and emerging homegrown young talent begin to make their mark. We have not diverted in any way from our strategy for on-field success within a commercially and financially sustainable organisation.”
Premier League top six by turnover
1. Manchester United £581m
2. Manchester City £500.50m*
3. Arsenal £427m
4. Chelsea £368m
5. Liverpool £364m
6. Tottenham Hotspur £306m