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Record revenues of £4.5bn power Premier League clubs to operating profits of over £1 billion

20 April 2018

  • Premier League clubs’ combined revenue increased by nearly £1bn to £4.5bn in the 2016/17 season, a new record;
  • Collective pre-tax profit of £0.5bn was almost three times the previous record of £0.2bn in 2013/14;
  • Clubs generated record operating profit of £1bn – double the amount reported for the 2015/16 season;
  • Wage costs across the league rose by 9% to £2.5bn, a new record, but significantly slower growth than the 25% increase in overall revenue.

Premier League clubs generated a combined operating profit of £1bn in the 2016/17 season, according to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. Clubs collectively reported £0.5bn in pre-tax profit, also a league record, with wages increasing by 9% to £2.5bn.

Dan Jones, Partner and head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “As predicted last year, the Premier League’s three year broadcast deals which came into effect in the 2016/17 season helped drive revenue to record levels.

“Despite wages increasing by 9% to £2.5bn, this increase is nowhere near the level of revenue growth noted. This relative restraint from Premier League clubs reflects both the extent of their financial advantage over other leagues and the impact of domestic and European cost control measures.”

The restraint shown by clubs to control their wages (spending only 23p of every extra £ of revenue on increased wages) has translated broadcast revenue success into healthy operating and pre-tax profits. All 20 clubs made an operating profit and 18 of 20 recorded a pre-tax profit. The collective revenue to wage ratio is down from 63% to 55% in the 2016/17 season, the lowest since the 1997/98 season.

The analysis reveals that Premier League clubs have collectively made a pre-tax profit in three out of the last four years and, despite clubs posting a collective pre-tax loss in 2015/16 season (due to a small number of one-off exceptional costs), it is likely that Premier League profits are here to stay.

Jones added: “Although we anticipate wage costs will continue to rise in the coming seasons, we do not foresee increases to be at a level which can jeopardise the profitability of the Premier League as a whole. The most significant wage increases have tended to occur in the year prior to the commencement of a new broadcast cycle once a substantial revenue increase is secured.

“Despite the lack of growth in domestic broadcast deals announced to date, we still expect to see overall revenue growth in the coming seasons, and if this is complemented with prudent cost control, we expect that pre-tax profits will be achieved for the foreseeable future.”

Tim Bridge, Senior Consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “We have already seen some clubs utilising their significant revenue increases, with a record £1.9bn spent on transfers in the 2017/18 season. We may again see similar levels of spending in the coming season, with the FIFA World Cup providing the perfect shop window for talent, but expenditure remains well within the means of clubs.”

Full analysis of football clubs’ finances will be published in the next edition of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance in June 2018.


Notes to editors

The analysis of the financial results of Premier League clubs for 2016/17 has been based on figures extracted from the latest available company or group financial statements in respect of each club.

In general, the financial figures are extracted from the annual financial statements of the legal entity registered in the United Kingdom which is at, or closest to, the ‘top’ of the ownership structure in respect of each club. In some cases Deloitte has made adjustments to club’s figures to enable, in our view, a more meaningful comparison of the football business on a club by club basis and over time.

The published financial statements of clubs rarely split wage costs between playing staff and other staff. Therefore, references to wage costs relate to total wage costs, including both playing staff and other staff. For the purpose of this analysis, references to operating result (profit or loss) is the net of clubs’ revenues less wages and other operating costs, excluding player trading (amortisation of transfer costs and profit/loss on disposal of players) and certain exceptional items.

For more than 25 years Deloitte has documented clubs’ business and commercial performance in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance, applying consistent methodologies. The next edition of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance will be published in June 2018, shortly after the end of the 2017/18 season, and will include more in-depth analysis including financial analysis on a club by club basis. More information about previous editions of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance can be found on

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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