By Andy Sambidge
Deloitte report shows Euro football market grew to EUR15.7bn, despite global downturn.
The English Premier League (EPL) remained the highest revenue generating league in world football with its clubs generating EUR2.3 billion in 2008/09, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Despite the challenging global economic environment, the European football market grew to EUR15.7 billion, Deloitte said.
It added that the sterling’s seven percent depreciation against the euro contributed to a narrowing of the gap between the EPL to its nearest rival, the German Bundesliga, to EUR0.7 billion.
The Bundesliga recorded an impressive 10 percent of revenue growth to EUR1,575m and moved ahead of Spain's La Liga, whose growth to EUR1,501m was driven by treble winning Barcelona and Real Madrid, whilst total revenues declined at the other 18 clubs.
Italy's Serie A revenues increased by EUR73m (five percent) to EUR1,494m.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “European football’s continued revenue growth demonstrates an impressive resilience to the extremely challenging economic times – underlying the continued loyalty of its fans and the continued attractiveness of football to sponsors and broadcasters.
"Unquestionably, football’s biggest challenge is not revenue generation, but rather the need for much greater cost control – notably over players’ wages and transfer fees.”
The ‘big five’ leagues’ wages (also including France's Ligue 1) increased by EUR305m (six percent) to exceed EUR5 billion for the first time, Deloitte added.
In England and Italy, wage growth was greater than revenue growth, putting further pressure on operating profits.
The Bundesliga became Europe’s most profitable league as its clubs generated increased operating profits of EUR172m to comfortably overtake the Premier League, whose profits fell markedly to EUR93m. Serie A and Ligue 1 remained loss making.
The Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2010 also revealed that broadcasting rights continued to be the main source of revenue for the ‘big five’ leagues, with EUR3,712m (47 percent) of total revenue in 2008/09.
It also said that average league attendances increased in three of the ‘big five’ leagues in 2009/10 (Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A).
Deloitte's report also showed that European club football was increasingly polarised, with Europe’s top 20 revenue generating clubs earning over EUR3.9 billion in 2008/09, 25 percent of the entire European football market.