Press releases

Records tumble in transfer window but Premier League clubs continue to spend within means

1 September 2017

  • Premier League clubs set new record for expenditure in a summer window of £1.4 billion;
  • Summer window sees gross transfer spending up 23% on previous record;
  • Premier League clubs’ summer spending as a proportion of estimated 2017/18 revenue was 31%;
  • More than £210m spent by Premier League clubs on transfer deadline day, a new record;
  • Net expenditure was £665m, £20m less than last summer’s record of £685m;
  • Championship clubs spend £195m on transfers, 9% less than 2016’s record.

After a remarkable summer window in which the world transfer record was broken, Premier League clubs gross transfer expenditure totalled £1,430m, a new record and up 23% on the previous year’s record. Premier League clubs’ have also broken the record for spending in a single season (£1,430m) and calendar year (£1,645m).

The record spending means that gross spending by Premier League clubs has surpassed £10 billion since the first transfer window in January 2003.

Premier League clubs’ transfer spending this summer as a proportion of their estimated revenue for the 2017/18 season is 31%. Over the thirty transfer windows since 2003, the average spending-revenue ratio has been 22% in the summer window, 5% in the January window and hence an average 27% for a season overall (see chart below).

Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Premier League clubs have broken their own record for transfer expenditure for the sixth summer in a row. With the continued growth in clubs’ revenues, principally from broadcast rights, it is no surprise that Premier League clubs have continued to maintain their leading position in the world’s player transfer market.

“Importantly, and when analysed in the context of generating record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending well within their means. For the last 15 years, annual transfer spending has remained within the range of between a fifth and a third, and averaged at around a quarter, of total revenues. With Premier League clubs’ revenue showing no sign of decreasing in the foreseeable future, we would expect to see spending continue to rise.”

After a January 2017 transfer window in which Premier League clubs were net exporters of playing talent (in terms of transfer fees), net expenditure on players from overseas in the summer 2017 transfer window was £585m – a decrease of £45m (7%) from the summer 2016 window.

Of the ‘big 5’ top divisions in Europe, the Premier League is once again the highest spending league (£1,430m/€1,560m). The next highest spending league was Serie A, with a gross spend of £735m/€800m. This was followed by Ligue 1 (£590m/€645m), the Bundesliga (£510m/€555m) and La Liga* (£500m/€545m).

Jones added: “While the transfer record for a single player has again been broken by a major European club, the Premier League’s clubs enjoy an unrivalled depth of purchasing power, as a result of the League’s relatively equal – and transparent – distribution of broadcast revenues.

“Premier League clubs continue to benefit from a virtuous circle: investing record revenues to acquire some of the best playing talent from around the world, which in turn helps the Premier League secure substantial improvements in domestic and international broadcast deals, and helps individual clubs maximise commercial revenues and matchday attendances through stadium improvements and similar long-term investments.”

Key findings from the analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group include:

  • Premier League clubs spent around £1.430 billion in respect of player transfer fees in the summer 2017 transfer window, an increase from the previous record of £1.165 billion last summer;
  • The average Premier League club spent £71m on player transfers (2016: c.£58m);
  • Transfer deadline day expenditure exceeded £210m – a new record. The previous record, set last summer, was £155m.
  • The Premier League’s highest-spending clubs were Manchester City (£215m), Chelsea (£180m), Manchester United (£145m) and Everton (£145m). Only four clubs recorded net transfer receipts (Swansea City, Arsenal, Burnley and Stoke City).
  • Premier League clubs spent £770m to acquire players from overseas clubs (2016: £720m), representing 54% of total gross transfer expenditure. £185m flowed in the opposite direction (2016: £90m);
  • Championship clubs spent £195m on player transfers in the summer 2017 transfer window, a decrease from the £215m spent in 2016;
  • Since the introduction of the transfer window system in January 2003, gross player transfer spending has exceeded £10.3 billion, with around 84% of this being spent in summer transfer windows.

End

Notes to editors

* NB: La Liga’s summer transfer window will close on 1 September 2017.

Basis of preparation
The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from www.bbc.co.uk and www.premierleague.com, and further analysis carried out by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The information is based on reported transfers as at 23:00 on 31 August 2017. Further commentary about the transfer market is included in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance. The figures contained in this release will not necessarily be the same as the cost of acquiring players’ registrations as recognised in the financial statements of each club. Under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes the transfer fee payable (including any probable contingent amounts), plus other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents. A currency rate of £1=€1.09 has been used for conversion of European league spending figures.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 20 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. For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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