June 7 – The European football market in 2016/17 was worth a record €25.5 billion with the Big 5 leagues accounting for €14.7 billion.
The headline numbers of Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte show the top 92 Premier League and Football League clubs generated a record £5.5 billion in revenue in 2016/17.
The ‘big five’ European leagues generated a record €14.7 billion (£12.6 billion) in revenue in 2016/17, a 9% increase from the previous year. Premier League clubs’ revenues increased to £4.5 billion, an increase of 25%.
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 spent a record £395 million on capital projects, an increase of £160 million (68%) compared with 2015/16; while the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs contributed £1.9 billion in taxes.
The Deloitte report authors point to a football business that is now well run with player wages in particular under control. “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 £2.5 billlion,” said the report authors.
“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.”
However there may be bad news on the horizon with reports of Aston Villa sinking close to administration following news of an unpaid tax bill, rumour that owner Tony Xia was struggling to access money in China, and the club having lost the Championship play-off and the £160 million guarantee if it had won and returned to the Premier League
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “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.”
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