Top 92 clubs generate £4 billion for the first time and invest a record amount in capital expenditure
2 June 2016
- Top 92 professional clubs generated over £4 billion for the first time in 2014/15
- £305m of capital expenditure in 2014/15 is the most ever invested in a season
- Premier League clubs generated record revenues of £3.3 billion; up 3% on 2013/14
- Broadcast rights deals see Premier League clubs record second-highest ever operating profits (£546m) and pre-tax profits (£121m) in 2014/15
- 17 Premier League clubs recorded an operating profit; 14 recorded a pre-tax profit
- Premier League clubs’ wage costs increased by 7% to exceed £2 billion for the first time
- Premier League clubs’ revenues were over €2 billion (£1.5 billion) higher than the next highest earning league, the Bundesliga
- Combined revenues of the ‘big five’ European leagues were €12 billion (£9.2 billion) in 2014/15, a new record
The 92 Premier League and Football League clubs generated more than £4 billion in revenues for the first time in 2014/15, a new record, according to the 25th Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. In addition, clubs’ capital expenditure reached £305 million, the most ever invested in a single season.
Premier League clubs once again saw record revenues, generating £3.3 billion as the league continues to benefit from the current broadcast rights cycle, which began in 2013/14. The lucrative broadcast deals have also helped clubs to record a second consecutive year of pre-tax profits in 2014/15, the first time this has happened since 1999.
Despite the revenue increase being modest (3%) when compared with wage costs growth (7%), Premier League clubs’ operating profitability was still the second highest it has ever been and almost seven times the average of the five years to 2012/13.
Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, comments: “The pace of football’s financial growth in two and a half decades is staggering. By half-time of the second televised Premier League game next year, more broadcast revenue will have been generated than during the whole of the First Division season 25 years ago. It is particularly reassuring to see that clubs are looking to spend on improving stadia and infrastructure.
“The impact of the Premier League’s broadcast deal is clear to see. For the first time, the Premier League leads the football world in all three key revenue categories - commercial, matchday and broadcast - and this is driving sustainable profitability. When the enhanced new broadcast deals commence in the 2016/17 season, operating profits could rise as high as £1 billion.”
Other key findings of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2016 include:
- The combined revenue for the big five European leagues rose by 6% to €12 billion in 2014/15, with the Premier League more than €2 billion higher than the next highest revenue-generating league, Germany’s Bundesliga, which generated €2.4 billion;
- The Premier League remained Europe’s most profitable league in 2014/15, followed by the Bundesliga and La Liga. In contrast, clubs in Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1, generated combined operating losses;
- Premier League clubs’ combined gross expenditure to acquire players was a record-high of £1.1 billion in the 2014/15 season;
- Premier League clubs’ net debt remained at £2.4 billon with interest-free soft loans, usually from the owners, accounting for 75% of the total;
- The Government’s tax take from the top 92 professional football clubs in 2014/15 was around £1.5 billion, up from £1.4 billion the previous season.
Although the wages/revenue ratio has increased for the Premier League clubs, Jones does not see this as cause for concern: “Wage costs grew at a faster rate than revenues in 2014/15 and as a result the division’s wages/revenue ratio rose from 58% to 61%. However, this represents the second lowest level since 2004/05 and is ten percentage points lower than in 2012/13. In fact, in the last two years, only 30% of revenue increases have been consumed by wage growth, whereas in the five years to 2012/13 this figure was 99%.”
In the Championship, combined revenues grew 12% to £548m in 2014/15, exceeding £0.5 billion for the first time. Wage costs rose by 4% to £541m which, despite a reduction in the wages/revenue ratio from 106% in 2013/14 to 99%, means clubs spent almost as much on wages as they generated in revenue. This remains an unsustainable level of spending without the support of owner funding. This resulted in operating losses of £225m and a combined pre-tax loss of £191m.
Adam Bull, Senior Consultant in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “With promotion to the top flight now worth at least an additional £170m to those Championship clubs not in receipt of a parachute payment, it is no surprise that clubs are doing all they can to put the best talent on the pitch in the hope of reaching the promised land of the Premier League.”
Bull continued: “At the same time, as none of the Championship clubs reported an operating profit in 2014/15 they need to be mindful that profits from player sales or owner funding are likely to be needed if they do not gain promotion.”
Notes to editors
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 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
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