Press releases

Records tumble as English football scores revenues of £4.4bn in 2015/16

12 July 2017

  • The top 92 Premier League and Football League clubs generated a record £4.4 billion in revenue in 2015/16;
  • Premier League clubs’ revenues increased by 9%, to a record £3.6 billion in 2015/16, the final year of the division’s three-year broadcast cycle. Each club generated more on average (£182m) than all 22 top division clubs combined managed in 1991/92 – the final season before the competition began;
  • Premier League clubs' combined revenues are likely to exceed £4.5 billion in the 2017/18 season;
  • Broadcast revenue accounted for more than half of Premier League clubs’ total revenue and, at £1.9bn in 2015/16, had almost doubled since 2008/09;
  • Total capital expenditure by Premier League and Football League clubs rose by 3% in the 2015/16 season to £313m – a new record;
  • Championship clubs spent more on wages than they generated in revenues in 2015/16, for the third time in four seasons.

The 92 Premier League and Football League clubs recorded combined revenues in excess of £4.4 billion in the 2015/16 season, according to the 26th Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. Premier League clubs generated record revenues of £3.6 billion, in the final year before the start of the new broadcast deals in 2016/17.

Despite wage costs increasing by 12% to £2.3 billion, Premier League clubs recorded a third consecutive season of operating profits in excess of £500m in 2015/16, and have generated combined operating profits of over £1.6 billion over the past three seasons, more than they managed in total over the previous 16 seasons combined.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, explains: “Even in the final year of its old broadcast contracts, Premier League revenues continued to set new records. In the 2015/16 season, the ‘big six’ clubs participated in the group stages of UEFA competitions and benefitted from improved UEFA broadcast rights deals, which resulted in an increase in distributions to participating English clubs of around £100m.

“With the commencement of the new Premier League broadcast rights cycle in 2016/17, supported by new commercial agreements at clubs and matchday revenue growth from new and expanded stadia, we expect total Premier League clubs’ revenues to rise to over £4.5 billion in 2017/18.”

Other key findings of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2017 include:

  • Total European football market revenues reached almost €25 billion in 2015/16, a 13% increase on 2014/15, driven by continued growth in broadcast rights values in European football’s biggest leagues, and the impact of UEFA Euro 2016;
  • The ‘big five’ European leagues grew collective revenues by €1.4 billion (12%) to a record €13.4 billion in 2015/16, with all five leagues exhibiting revenue growth on the previous season;
  • Premier League clubs spent a record £1.3 billion on transfers during the 2015/16 season, surpassing the previous season’s record of £1.1 billion by over 20%;
  • Total Premier League net debt fell for the third consecutive season, by £125m (5%) to £2.2 billion at the end of the 2015/16 season;
  • The 92 Premier League and Football League clubs contributed £1.6 billion to Government in taxes in 2015/16 (2014/15: £1.5 billion).

Whilst Premier League clubs returned to a collective pre-tax loss in 2015/16, it is unlikely to be a lasting trend.

Jones added: “The return to pre-tax losses in 2015/16 was the result of exceptional, or one-off, accounting adjustments, without which clubs collectively would have broken even. Operating profits exceeded £500m for the third season in a row and we fully expect that Premier League clubs will collectively achieve record levels of profitability in the seasons to come.”

In the Championship, overall revenues increased to a new record level of £556m in 2015/16, and have risen by 74% in the last decade. However, for the third time in the last four years clubs spent more on wages (£561m) than they generated in revenue, resulting in a record operating loss of £261m, and pre-tax losses of £241m. This follows two seasons of operating and pre-tax loss reductions.

Adam Bull, Senior Consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “With clubs standing to earn a revenue uplift of at least £170m from promotion to the Premier League, rising to over £290m if they survive one season, Championship clubs continue to be tempted to spend excessively relative to their revenues, particularly on wages.

“Huddersfield Town’s promotion at the end of the 2016/17 season again demonstrated the opportunity for any Championship club to reach the Premier League, regardless of their budget. Indeed, Huddersfield became the eighth club in the last five seasons to win promotion without the aid of parachute payments, and in 2015/16 had the Championship’s fourth-lowest wage costs.”

End

Notes to editors

Exchange rate
The average exchange rate for the year ending 30 June 2016 has been used to convert figures between euros and pounds sterling (£1 = €1.34).

For 2015/16, English Premier League clubs’ revenues increased 9% in UK Sterling terms, compared to an increase of 10% 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.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 25 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers and investors than any other adviser.

For further information on our services you can access our website at www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

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