The combined annual revenue of the 92 clubs in the top four divisions has eclipsed £3bn for the first time, with earnings in the Premier League once again dwarfing those in the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A.
The latest football finance review by Deloitte for 2011-12 shows that revenue from the Premier League's 20 clubs increased by 4% to almost £2.4bn following another impressive year of commercial growth. The equivalent figure was £1.58bn in Germany, £1.4bn in Spain and £1.3bn in Italy.
Operating profits increased by £25m to £98m in the English top flight, though this figure was surpassed in the Bundesliga where £161m was made. Significantly, the revenue-to-wages ratio average in Germany's top league fell to an impressive 51%, some way below the Premier League's 70%, during a year when Manchester City spent more than £200m on players' salaries.
Total revenue for Championship clubs increased by £53m to £476m and, although the combined operating losses for all 24 teams in the division rose to a record £147m, with a worrying total £0.9bn net debt, it remains the strongest second-tier across Europe by some distance. Despite the impressive revenue growth, though, operating losses in the Football League grew to record levels.
Dan Jones, a senior partner at Deloitte, said: "The £3bn is a big stat. Likewise is the growth in the Championship itself – sometimes the Championship gets overshadowed by the Premier League. The reality is they're both great successes. It's just the Premier League is the bigger success.
"The Championship performance is extremely strong again. It's the biggest second-tier league in Europe by a street. No one else has a second-tier league that comes anywhere close. People are pushing very hard to get in the Premier League. What is imperative is that clubs do that in a way that is sustainable. The Football League is bringing in its financial fair play rules precisely to address that."
The Deloitte report, which does not cover the most recent season, states that total player costs across all four divisions fell 5% to £1.8bn in the first year-on-year decrease since 2005, although this is not expected to be a permanent trend due to the significantly larger amount of TV revenue that will be available to Premier League clubs as of 2013-14.
Jones admits there is uncertainty at what effect the broadcast revenue, which is more than £5bn spread over three seasons, will have.
"The big test will be what happens to the new TV money, how much of that finds its way into the wage bill. It will also be interesting to see how the new financial regulations will affect clubs' behaviour," he said.
"Once the new TV deal kicks in I think you'll find the total spent on players will be up at a record level. There's no intrinsic problem with that but it's all about spending being balanced and not being excessive to the point that it endangers the club.
"It is a pretty spectacular deal. Another £500m a season is a very significant uplift and a great opportunity for the clubs to say we're already ahead. If we're a little bit prudent with the revenue, we can be sustainable and not have big losses."
Deloitte's report also states that £1.3bn was contributed by English professional football to the government during 2011‑12 through tax and national insurance costs.