Tottenham have been named the most valuable football club in the Premier League, according to an in-depth university study.
Despite seemingly losing their way this season following the dizzying heights of last year’s Champions League final, Tottenham have somehow managed to blow away the likes of Manchester City and a resurgent Liverpool with their business model.
Top flight teams have been assessed from a multitude of angles and, despite Spurs being still yet to place silverware into a spacious trophy cabinet, the north London club are out-performing their UK rivals when it comes to monetary value.
To the surprise of many, Tottenham have been named the Premier League’s most valuable club
In a new body of work compiled by University of Liverpool Management School football finance expert Kieran Maguire, Tottenham have been shown to have gained several yards on competitors with thanks to their highly regimented and generally low wage system, along with a ‘highly commercial’ stadium with continuous earning potential.
The new figures show the rise and falls of the top flight sides, when placed against a comparison model originally conducted in 2018.
Spurs, who now place first with an overall club value of £2.567billion, leap up from their third placed standing in 2018 – then deemed to be worth £1.837bn.
Tottenham have been ranked as more valuable than both Manchester sides and Liverpool
Pep Guardiola’s super rich City, who topped the 2018 table with a value of £2.364bn, drop into second after seeing a decrease in value to the figure of £2.2bn. This comes despite City’s historic quadruple win during the 2018-19 campaign.
Liverpool have risen in overall value thanks to their meteoric success and plentiful broadcast revenue, building upon their 2018 valuation of £1.356bn (which saw them placed sixth) to a total of £1.627bn in the most recent study (fourth).
Manchester United drop from being the second most valuable team in 2018 (at £1.935bn) despite registering financial growth, now at £2.080bn, to sit behind Spurs and City in third.
Maguire explains: ‘Spurs are top of the valuation table because in 2018-19 they delivered a Champions League final and a top four Premier League finish on a wage budget that was £100-150m lower than the rest of the “Big Six”.
‘As such they made more profits, and this was reflected in the final valuation number.
‘These factors led to a 21 per cent increase in income, to £461m for Spurs in 2018-19, against an unbelievably light 39 per cent player wage cost – the lowest ratio in the Premier League.
Chairman Daniel Levy is renowned for the strict financial business model he deploys at Spurs
While Spurs have star names, general wages are low and spending is rarely excessive
‘By comparison, top four rivals Leicester City see 84 per cent of their income eaten up by player wages. Tottenham also only spent a net £22m on players – only Watford spent less (£21m) – where Chelsea spent net £290m, Liverpool £223m, Man Utd £135m and Man City £87m.’
Overall, the assessment does not paint a picture of financial security for Premier League clubs, with a collective loss of £384m sustained across the 2018-19 season.
More than half of the division’s clubs (eleven) rely on broadcast income for at least 75 per cent of their revenue. Reaching the top table for promoted clubs is also no longer necessarily a path to profitability.
For example, Bournemouth’s income has increased by £126m since their League One days back in 2012-13 – but player costs have increased by £134m at the same time. Crystal Palace’s profits have also fallen every year since promotion, to reach negative £38.9m in 2018-19.
Money in football is a hot topic right now, with many teams across the country facing the real prospect of going under as the coronavirus pandemic blights the game.
Despite winning the Champions League and increasing their overall value, Liverpool (£1.627bn) still lag behind both Spurs (£2,567bn) and Manchester City (£2,186bn)
Club values will take a considerable hit during this period, while there are fewer potential buyers in the market and greater uncertainty in terms of clubs’ ability to generate income.
Maguire feels football will continue to feel the fall, which will undoubtedly impact financial studies for years to come.
Smaller sides, naturally, are set to be hit hardest.
‘We have seen the share prices of clubs with shares quoted on the stock exchanges, such as Manchester United and Juventus, fall by 20-30 per cent since the start of the year,’ Maguire adds.
‘This is likely to be greater for smaller clubs who don’t have the marketing and reputational might of the well-known brands.’