Annual Review of Football Finance 2016

Press releases

Broadcast and commercial deals drove cumulative revenues of the ‘big five’ European leagues up 7% to €12 billion in 2014/15

Singapore, 2 June 2016 — European football market revenues exceeded €22 billion in 2014/15, driven by the ‘big five’ European leagues (Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A), which now account for 54% of total revenues – according to the 25th Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

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Marie Li
Deloitte Singapore
Marketing & Communications
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Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Another year of growth in four of Europe’s leading leagues provided further evidence of the continued appetite of broadcasters and commercial partners to be associated with the elite clubs given their global profile and mass appeal.”

Jones also believes further growth is inevitable: “With new broadcast deal cycles due to start in each of the ‘big five’ European leagues in the next two seasons, the European football market is likely to surpass €25 billion in the 2016/17 season.”

In the Premier League, a 3% (£88m) revenue increase in 2014/15 saw it further extend its lead as the highest revenue-generating league in the world, with total revenue of €4.4 billion (£3.3 billion), more than €2 billion higher than the next highest earning league, the Bundesliga. It also now leads the football world in all three key revenue categories, having overtaken the Bundesliga as the highest generator of commercial revenue in 2014/15.

A ninth consecutive year of revenue growth saw the Bundesliga maintain its position as the second highest revenue generating league in Europe, with total revenue rising 5% (€117m) to €2.4 billion. This growth was predominantly attributable to sponsorship and commercial partnerships, with revenue from this source representing 48% of total Bundesliga revenue.

La Liga clubs’ combined revenues grew by 6% (€120m) to €2.1 billion in 2014/15, and the Spanish league recorded growth across all three revenue categories. The move to collective selling of broadcast rights is expected to greatly boost broadcast revenue for clubs, and it is likely that La Liga will overtake the Bundesliga to become the second highest revenue-generating league in the world when financial results for 2015/16 are compiled.

A 5% (€92m) increase in total revenue for Serie A clubs to €1.8 billion in 2014/15 masked significant movements in the financial performance of Italy’s highest profile clubs. Overall the six highest revenue generating Italian clubs recorded revenue growth of just €6m, representing 7% of the total increase. This compared with €86m revenue growth across the other 14 clubs.

Total revenue for Ligue 1 reduced by €80m (5%) to €1.4 billion in 2014/15, owing in a large part to AS Monaco’s sponsorship revenue decrease of €124m. More encouragingly, matchday revenues increased by €21m (15%) as a raft of stadium developments were completed in the run up to UEFA Euro 2016, resulting in the league’s average attendance of 22,329 being the highest for over a decade.

Aggregate wage expenditure for the ‘big five’ European leagues increased by 10% to surpass €7.4 billion in 2014/15. With the exception of Serie A, the other ‘big five’ leagues all recorded wages/revenue ratios below the 70% threshold used by UEFA to help monitor clubs’ financial sustainability (Bundesliga 52%, Premier League 61%, La Liga 63%, Ligue 1 67%, Serie A 72%). Premier League clubs’ wage costs rose 7% to €2.7 billion in 2014/15, more than the total spend by Bundesliga and La Liga clubs combined.

The Premier League’s operating profit of €718m (£546m) in 2014/15 was a reduction on the prior year’s record of €739m (£618m), but remained more than double that achieved by the second highest league, the Bundesliga (€316m). La Liga clubs also generated an operating profit (€264m), whereas the clubs in Italy’s Serie A (€133m) and France’s Ligue 1 (€35m), generated combined operating losses.

Adam Bull, Senior Consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “With new broadcast rights deals due to start in each of the ‘big five’ European leagues between now and 2016/17, coupled with the increasing application of financial regulations across European football, there has never been a greater opportunity for the world’s leading leagues to achieve profitability.”

Other key findings from the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2016 include:

  • Broadcast revenue across the ‘big five’ European leagues grew by 8% (€406m) in 2014/15, and at €5.8 billion represented 48% of total revenues of the ‘big five’ leagues;
  • Revenue from sponsorship and other commercial sources increased by 5% to reach €4.2 billion, the second largest element of aggregate revenues at 35%;
  • Matchday revenue rose by 8% in 2014/15 and generated €2.1 billion across the ‘big five’ leagues;
  • On average, 89% of additional revenue generated by the ‘big five’ European leagues in 2014/15 was spent on wage costs;
  • A slight increase in attendances saw the Bundesliga record the highest average level in world football, at almost 42,700 people per game and a stadium utilisation of around 90%. However, this was not as high as the Premier League’s utilisation of 96% (average attendance of c.36,200), with 14 of its 20 clubs achieving utilisation of over 95%;
  • La Liga’s average attendances increased to more than 25,700 in 2014/15, whilst Ligue 1’s attendances increased for a third consecutive year to more than 22,300, overtaking those achieved in Serie A, c.21,600, for the first time since the 2006/07 season;
  • Outside of the ‘big five’ European leagues, competing in UEFA club competitions continues to have a greater impact on the financial performance of certain clubs, who in turn can have a significant impact on their domestic league’s cumulative revenues;

Total revenues of €803m generated by Russian Premier League clubs in 2014 were the sixth highest in European football.

Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2016

Exchange rate

The average exchange rate for the year ending 30 June 2015 has been used to convert figures between euros and pounds sterling (£1 = €1.3145). For 2014/15, English Premier League clubs’ revenues increased 3% in UK Sterling terms, compared to an increase of 13% denominated in euros due to a change in exchange rates.

Wage costs

Wage costs cover all employees (including players, technical and administrative employees) and include wages, salaries, signing-on fees, bonuses, termination payments, social security contributions and other employee benefit expenses.

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