Economic metrics show UCL quarter final ties are evenly balanced

April 5 – With the UEFA Champions League (UCL) resuming next week at the quarter final stage, Football Benchmark has undertaken a financial analysis and comparison of the qualified clubs, examining the economic balance of the pairings.

The first and perhaps most significant finding is that of the 13 highest operating revenue teams in Europe, eight have advanced to the quarter finals. The five that didn’t make it are four English teams – Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea (there is a limit of four English teams in the competition)  – and Juventus who are banned from European competitions.

Looking at the match-ups, Football Benchmark notes “an unprecedented level of equilibrium”.

“Real Madrid CF and Manchester City FC have a EUR 4 million gap in their 2022/23 total operating revenues, whereas Paris Saint-Germain FC and FC Barcelona exhibit a narrower difference of only EUR 2 million. The most significant contrast lies between Arsenal FC and FC Bayern München, with a EUR 211 million divide, while Borussia Dortmund and Atlético de Madrid show a more modest gap of just EUR 22 million. Remarkably, four teams boast operating revenues exceeding EUR 800 million each,” says the report.

Looking at staff costs among the eight clubs, there is an “equally remarkable balance” in the individual ties.

“FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain FC stand out as the clubs with the highest staff costs among the quarter-finalists, a distinction that extends to their positions across Europe as a whole. What sets them apart further is their staff costs to operating revenue ratio, which surpasses the recommended threshold of 70%. Among the quarter-finalists, five boast a staff costs to operating revenue ratio of less than 60%. Notably, Arsenal FC emerged as the club with the most conservative financial approach, boasting the lowest ratio among its peers at 51%.”

There is also balance in the market value of squads within each of the ties with largest gap in squad value, € 248 million, between Manchester City and Real Madrid. Five clubs have surpassed the billion-euro mark in terms of squad value. Paris Saint-Germain falls just slightly below this threshold.

However there is a “substantial disparity” overall between the eight clubs separating Borussia Dortmund and Atlético de Madrid from the rest. The squad value of ManCity surpasses that of Atlético by over three times.

To date Football Benchmark estimates that four clubs have already surpassed the €100 million mark in UEFA income this Champions League, while the other four clubs are close to this threshold. “This once again underscores the significance of clubs qualifying for European competitions, particularly the Champions League, and aiming for a deep run. Notably, an extended cup run not only guarantees higher UEFA revenues but also leads to increased stadium revenues, thanks to a greater number of home games played throughout the season,” said Football Benchmark.

Looking at overall profitability, five out of eight teams have managed to secure net profits in the 2022/23 season, with Atlético also nearing break-even.

Arsenal and particularly Paris Saint-Germain find themselves in deficit. Despite facing losses in the previous season, PSG have shown significant improvement, with their losses reduced by 70%.

Football Benchmark notes that FC Barcelona’s record net profit is partially attributed to extraordinary income amounting to €793 million, primarily stemming from the sale of future TV rights.

The take-aways from the report are that you have to be the big financial league to be part of this end of season party, and while matching-up in the economic arena will get you to the final stages, it then becomes about what you do on the pitch. The current set of quarter finals have never been so evenly matched.

To see the full report, click here.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1716042559labto1716042559ofdlr1716042559owedi1716042559sni@n1716042559osloh1716042559cin.l1716042559uap1716042559