- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

LONDON (AP) - The revenue generated by football clubs in the Premier League struck a record 2.53 billion pounds ($4.23 billion) in the 2012/13 season as the English topflight remained the world leader.

An annual review conducted by consultants Deloitte shows that revenues among the 20 Premier League sides swelled by 165 million pounds, with over 60 percent of the growth driven by Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

“Once again the global appeal of the Premier League has continued to drive commercial revenue growth, particularly at the highest ranked Premier League clubs,” said Deloitte sports business group partner Dan Jones. “Matchday revenue also increased by 6 percent with fewer unsold seats at Premier League games than ever before.”

Jones added that the increasing trend is expected to continue, with the Premier League clubs’ revenue likely to increase by 30 percent to 3.2 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in 2013-14.

“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,” he said.

According to Deloitte, the 7 percent increase in Premier League revenues is the largest absolute growth of any of the “big five” leagues. Among those, German clubs generated revenues of 1.7 billion pounds ($2.85 billion) while those in Spain reaped 1.6 billion pounds ($2.68 billion). Italy’s clubs garnered 1.4 billion pounds ($2.35 billion) while French clubs saw revenues of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.84 billion).

Overall, the “big five” saw revenues increase 5 percent.

The majority of the Premier League revenue’s growth arose from commercial sources, with the two Manchester clubs accounting for over half of the league’s 129 million pounds ($216 million) commercial revenue increase.

Deloitte noted that the Bundesliga is still ahead of the Premier League by 55 million euros ($75 million) in commercial terms but expects the English league to “comfortably lead Europe” in all three main revenues categories - matchday, broadcast and commercial in the 2013-14 results.

In the year before UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules took effect, over 75 percent of the Premier League clubs’ revenue increase was spent on wages, which rose by 125 million pounds to 1.8 billion pounds ($3 billion), as clubs spent in anticipation of the extra revenue from the new broadcast deal in 2013-14.

The biggest increase was at Manchester City, with the club spending an extra 31 million pounds ($52 million) compared to the previous year to reach 233 million pounds ($390 million). Though Manchester City remained ahead of its city rival Manchester United in the player cost stakes, United won the 2012/13 Premier League title. City reclaimed the title in the season that’s just ended while United sank to seventh.

“The pattern in spending on wages following previous increases in broadcast deals, suggests it’s likely around 60 percent or more of the revenue increase in 2013-14 will flow through to wages,” said Adam Bull, senior consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. “On that basis, we would expect Premier League total wage costs to reach a new record level of around 2.2 billion pounds ($3.7 billion).”