June 24 – Euro 2020, the most significant international tournament outside of the World Cup, is currently recording impressive viewing figures across the continent, with some nations enjoying success on and off the field.
The current format, in which 24 teams are filtered down to 16 for the final stages, began five years ago in France and has remained popular. It creates as many matches as the World Cup, making it lucrative for broadcasters. Even viewers in England are tuning into games such as Austria and North Macedonia when it would barely raise comment under normal circumstances.
What does it mean in terms of direct revenue?
It certainly improves upon the past tournaments, with Euro 92 in Sweden a benchmark, generating €41 million (£35 million). That competition had eight teams, filtering down to the semi-finals and a final. By the time Portugal hosted in 2004, four groups of four competed for a place in the last eight, with revenue of €855 million (£731 million) generated. At Euro 2016, the first 24-team tournament, the revenue peaked at €1.9 billion (£1.6 billion), with Euro 2020 expected to break €2.5 billion (£2.1 billion).
Where does that money come from?
Sponsors are essential, explaining the furore around Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of a Coca Cola bottle during a recent interview. UEFA does not reveal details of individual sponsorship packages, but Marketwatch.com show that €483 million (£413 million) of revenue from Euro 2016 came from commercial partners. The expectation is those deals will increase for this tournament, with around 25% of the revenue generated coming from brands wishing to be associated with Europe’s top players.
How do these sums get distributed around the competing nations?
All 24 teams will share €371 million (£317 million) in prize money, with the eventual winner picking up €34 million (£29 million). Clubs worldwide will benefit too, with €200 million (£171 million) allocated to clubs that supply the competition’s players. So whilst that might be pocket change for Manchester City or Chelsea, smaller clubs, the likes of Fehérvár FC in Hungary will benefit, as they provided five players.
The smaller nations that go deep in the competition, such as Wales, will benefit significantly from the tournament. A graphic from Bwin.com on the tournament’s qualifiers show Wales as 18th in FIFA’s World Rankings, but with a population of little more than 3 million people, they are not one of the top 30 countries in terms of size in Europe. That means the prize money allocated to their FA would significantly impact the state of grassroots football in the country. At Euro 2016, Wales got €7.4 million (£6.3 million) for qualifying, which rises to €9.25million (£7.9 million) at Euro 2020. With a draw and a win in the group stages, that pot grows by €2.25 million (£1.93 million), with another €2 million (£1.71 million) the reward for reaching the last 16. That gives a total of €13.5 million (£11.5 million) just for getting past the group stage. For context, the Football Association of Wales turnover for 2019 was €17.8 million (£15.3 million).
What is the hidden revenue?
The competing teams and players are not the only ones to get a financial boost from the tournament. The host cities will see an uplift in revenue, even if it is less than expected everywhere other than Budapest due to pandemic restrictions.
Even social media giants such as Twitter have seen an increase in traffic, with it being the go-to platform for an immediate reaction from fans. Indeed, many watching the England and Czech Republic game first heard about Croatia’s goals against Scotland not on the radio or the BBC website but Twitter. That might not generate obvious revenue to be added into official figures, but internet traffic is big business, and an increase in content and reaction means more advertising revenue.
It is hard to quantify the exact financial impact of Euro 2020 because there are so many facets to consider. For instance, Wales’ Joe Morrell has had an excellent tournament so far; if a bigger club picks him up for a considerable sum that is a financial benefit seen by his parent club, Luton Town. What is evident is that even without full stadiums, Euro 2020 has been a breath of fresh air across the sport, financial or otherwise, that was much needed after the turmoil of 2020.
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