Press releases

European football market worth a record €25.5 billion (£21.9bn) as Premier League leads the way in new era of financial stability

7 June 2018

  • The financial results of the 2016/17 football season are the most impressive ever and reflect a new era of improved profitability and financial stability for football clubs;
  • The ‘big five’ European leagues generated a record €14.7bn (£12.6bn) in revenue in 2016/17, a 9% increase from the previous year; 
  • The European football market is now estimated to be worth €25.5bn (£21.9bn). In revenue terms, the Premier League is 86% larger than its nearest competitor, Spain’s La Liga;
  • The German Bundesliga remains the best attended European league, with average crowds of over 44,000;
  • The top 92 Premier League and Football League clubs generated a record £5.5bn in revenue in 2016/17;
  • Premier League clubs’ revenues increased to £4.5bn, an increase of 25% as the first year of a new broadcast rights cycle saw clubs paid between c.£95m and c.£150m in central distributions. No clubs reported an operating loss;
  • Championship clubs generated record combined revenues of £720m in 2016/17, a 30% increase from the 2015/16. The three newly relegated clubs generated almost one-third of this total revenue;
  • Premier League clubs spent a record £395m on capital projects, an increase of £160m (68%) compared with 2015/16;
  • The 92 Premier League and Football League clubs contributed £1.9bn to Government in taxes in 2016/17 (2015/16: £1.6bn).

Euro stars: European football sees record financial growth
The European football market is now worth a record €25.5 billion (£21.9bn), according to the 27th Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The growth was primarily driven by the ‘big five’ European leagues who saw combined revenues increase by 9% in 2016/17, with new broadcasting arrangements in England, Spain and France having a considerable impact. Growth was not restricted to those biggest leagues, however, with non-big five leagues also seeing revenue growth.

Tim Bridge, a Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, explained: “The financial position of European football appears healthier than it has been for a long time, reflecting the global popularity of the game, the professionalism of leading clubs and the strength of the regulatory environment in which they operate. Whilst the Premier League is the clear market leader, we expect to see continued growth and interest across Europe’s leagues in the years to come.”

Premier League clubs: in a league of their own
The 92 Premier League and Football League clubs recorded combined revenues in excess of £5.5bn for the 2016/17 season. With a new broadcast cycle commencing in 2016/17 for Premier League clubs, the 20 clubs generated record revenues of £4.5bn, 25% higher than in the previous season and the benefit was felt further down the football pyramid, with record revenue for the 72 Football League clubs of almost £1bn.

In previous years, any increase in revenue would have been expected to lead to a proportional increase in wages but in an era of regulatory controls, clear market leadership and stronger financial self-discipline, wage costs rose only 9% to £2.5bn. Whilst this is still a record high, the Premier League’s wages/revenue ratio fell to just 55%, its lowest level since 1997/98 (52%). Most notably, no Premier League club reported an operating loss, the first time that this has ever happened. Following their title-winning season, Leicester City’s Champions League campaign helped them deliver the highest-ever pre-tax profit for a Premier League club of £92m.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, explains: “The financial results of the class of 2016/17 are the most impressive we have ever seen. Just a decade ago, 60% of Premier League clubs were making an operating loss whereas in the 2016/17 season, all clubs were profitable. In addition, and for the first time ever, Premier League clubs’ revenues have grown at a faster rate than wages over a ten-year period.

“The recent announcement that the Premier League’s domestic rights selling process for 2019/20 – 2021/22 did not deliver the uplift that followers have become accustomed to over recent years should not be a cause for concern. The fact that the Premier League has once again shown its resilience and strength by retaining the vast majority of its audience and value has provided market leading financial security to clubs for at least the next four years, providing they are not relegated. Indeed, once the sales process for the remaining international rights is completed, we expect the league will have delivered overall increases in television revenue.”

Championship sees revenue records tumble
In the Championship, revenues grew 30% to a record £720m in 2016/17. However, the trend for almost all of any revenue growth to be spent on wages has continued, with the Championship’s wages/revenue ratio of 99%, albeit down from 100% last year. There is a greater revenue disparity than ever between clubs that are receiving parachute payments and those that do not. Those clubs relegated from the Premier League in 2015/16 – Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Norwich - received £41m each, which in itself was more than the total revenue of all bar one of their competitor clubs in the Championship.

League 1 clubs increased revenue by 7% to 146m, while League 2 clubs’ revenue increase by 6% to £91m.

Bridge added: “Financially speaking, the three leagues below the Premier League are now considerably larger than their peers at equivalent levels in the football pyramid, anywhere in the world. In no small part, this is due to the financial success of the Premier League and the filtering down effect in the form of parachute and solidarity payments. Parachute payments to Championship clubs made up almost a third of that division’s revenue.”


Notes to editors

Notes to editors

Big five’ European league clubs’ revenue – 2016/17 (€m)

Exchange rate
The average exchange rate for the year ending 30 June 2017 has been used to convert figures between euros and pounds sterling (£1 = €1.16).

For 2016/17, English Premier League clubs’ revenues increased 25% in UK Sterling terms, compared to an increase of 9% 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

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 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.

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