League revenue for the season that ended in 2018 was over $6bn, more than 70% above its nearest 'Big Five' European competitor, the German Bundesliga
England’s Premier League is seeing record revenue that’s keeping it well ahead of other European soccer associations as four of its top teams are appearing in this year’s major club championship finals.
League revenue for the season that ended in 2018 hit 5.44 billion euros ($6.07 billion), more than 70% above its nearest ‘Big Five’ European competitor, the German Bundesliga, according to sports business analysts at Deloitte.
The German league narrowly overtook its Spanish counterpart, La Liga, in the second slot, they said in a report.
Sky-high broadcast deals and increased distributions from UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, are adding to soccer leagues’ revenue, particularly for elite teams, the analysts said.
While Bundesliga and La Liga are keeping pace with the Premier League’s growth, France’s Ligue 1 and Italian Serie A may fall away and become less competitive, according to Dan Jones, a partner at the firm who edited the report.
“It is pressing for both Italian and French clubs to develop their revenue streams,” he said in the report. “There is a risk that the gap between them and the top three leagues will continue to grow,” adding to the competitive imbalance.
Combined revenue for Europe’s overall soccer market rose 11% to 28.4 billion euros, according to the report. While average game attendance was highest in the Bundesliga, English teams led in average revenue per club with 272 million euros, compared to the Bundesliga’s 176 million euros.
The financial dominance of the Premier League has been reflected on the field this season, where all four finalists in Europe’s top two club competitions are British. Chelsea took Europa League honours over Arsenal 4-1 Wednesday night in Baku, Azerbaijan, while Tottenham faces Liverpool in the Champions League final Saturday in Madrid.
Such spoils are luring more teams in England’s second tier to post record spending for talented players while incurring record financial losses, according to the report.
The financial strain has hit teams such as Bolton Wanderers, which postponed a match in April because unpaid players refused to play and then entered administration. One of England’s most famous, the club became one of the founding members of the Premier League’s forerunner in 1888.
The hunt for talent is also affecting teams at the top tier, Deloitte’s Jones said. Despite the boost in revenue, overall Premier League operating profit fell to 979 million euros from last year’s record 1.2 million euros, according to the report.
“There’s more money in the game at all levels than ever, and yet there needs to be discipline and good management is the challenge,” Jones said.