The English Premier football League saw its revenues soar by 26% in the 2007/08 season to 5 billion dollars.
A report by Deloittes says despite the downturn, 11 of the 20 top league clubs made an operating profit in 2007/08, from eight a year before.
But Premier League salary costs hits 2 and a half billion dollars and the clubs' total net debt was 8 billion.
Two-thirds of the debt was carried by the big four of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, but Dan Jones, the editor of Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance, said those clubs all had business plans "that they feel make sense".
As well as looking at the English Premier League and Football League the Deloitte report also studies Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Italy's Serie A was the fastest growing league in terms of revenue, thanks mainly to the change in clubs in the league, including the return of Juventus, in 2007/08.
In joint second place after the Premier League, in terms of gross revenues, was Spain's La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga.
The Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, and the English Premier League have been boosted by having secured long-term broadcast deals which deliver significant proportions of total revenue.