Commercial revenue increased by 21% at Premier League clubs in the 2012/13 season and topped £2.5 billion for the first time, according to the Annual Review of Football Finance by Deloitte.
However, over 75% of the revenue increase was spent on wages, which rose by £125m (8%) to £1.8billion and resulted in the overall Premier League clubs’ wages to revenue ratio reaching a record high of 71%.
These increases led to the aggregate profit falling by £2m to £82m, although 13 of the Premier League clubs made a profit in 2012/13 compared with 10 in the previous year.
Adam Bull, senior consultant at Deloitte, says that wage costs are forecast to increase again in 2013/14: "The pattern in spending on wages following previous increases in broadcast deals, suggests it’s likely around 60% or more of the revenue increase in 2013/14 will flow through to wages.
"On that basis, we would expect Premier League total wage costs to reach a new record level of around £2.2billion. However, given the forecast increase in revenue, this would also return the wages to revenue ratio below 70% for the first time since 2009/10."
Dan Jones, partner at Deloitte, said: "Once again the global appeal of the Premier League has continued to drive commercial revenue growth, particularly at the highest ranked Premier League clubs. Matchday revenue also increased by 6% with fewer unsold seats at Premier League games than ever before."
Premier League clubs will receive another significant increase in revenue in the 2013/14 season. Deloitte estimates that revenue will have increased by almost 30% to £3.2 billion in the 2013/14 season.
This growth will be driven by the revenue from the first season of the Premier League’s new broadcast deals and further commercial revenue growth at the biggest clubs.
However, the 2012/13 season was a particularly bleak year for the finances of Championship clubs. A revenue reduction of £39m was compounded by a £40m increase in wage costs, leading to record operating losses of £241m. Pre-tax losses also increased by £170m, equivalent to an additional £7m per club, to £323m.
Bull commented: "The 2012/13 wages to revenue ratio for Championship clubs of 106% is the highest ever recorded by an English division and is clearly unsustainable without ongoing owner support.
"The introduction of the Championship Financial Fair Play Rules was widely seen, and advocated by the clubs who voted it in, as a necessary step to change clubs’ behavior.
"The severity of the punishments applied to those who have not complied with the rules in the 2013/14 season and the eventual result of efforts to change the rules, will determine the extent to which they present an effective deterrent to widespread overspending."
The Bundesliga remained Europe’s most profitable league with operating profits of £226m, followed by the Premier League, with operating profits of £82m;
The total European football market grew to a record £17.1 billion (€19.9 billion) in 2012/13;
Premier League clubs generated the highest revenue (£2.5 billion) of any league in Europe in 2012/13, followed by Germany (£1.7 billion), Spain (£1.6 billion), Italy (£1.4 billion), and France (£1.1 billion);
The top 92 English clubs invested £211m in stadia and facilities in 2012/13, the highest amount of capital investment since 2006. Capital investment by clubs across the top four divisions since the Premier League began has now exceeded £3.5 billion;
Net debt in respect of Premier League clubs was £2.5 billion, an increase of £139m (6%) on 2012;
The Government’s tax take from the top 92 professional football clubs was around £1.3 billion in 2012/13.