Broadcast deals put EPL in a league of its own

LONDON • English Premier League clubs enjoyed record revenues of £3.3 billion (S$6.55 billion) in 2014-15 thanks to broadcast deals that will be even more lucrative next season, according to Deloitte.

The company's sports business group said in its 25th annual review of football finance that England's top 92 professional football clubs had generated more than £4 billion in revenues for the first time.

Deloitte partner Dan Jones said football's financial growth since the first review was published in 1992 had been "staggering" and the impact of the Premier League broadcast money was evident.

"By half-time of the second Premier League game that is televised domestically in 2016-17, more broadcast revenue will have been generated than by all the First Division matches combined 25 years ago," he said in a foreword to the report.

"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."

A new three-year cycle of broadcast rights with BSkyB and BT Sport that kicks in next season could see operating profits rise as high as £1 billion.

  • BIG FIVE EUROPEAN LEAGUE CLUBS' REVENUES 2014-15

  • ENGLAND

    £4.4b

    GERMANY

    £2.4b

    SPAIN

    £2.1b

    ITALY

    £1.8b

    FRANCE

    £1.5b


    £1 = S$2

The review reported that combined revenues for Europe's big five leagues - England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France - rose by 6 per cent to €12 billion (S$18.5 billion) and were likely to exceed €15 billion in 2016-17.

However, the Premier League generates more than twice the broadcast revenues of Italy's Serie A and three times that of the 18 German Bundesliga clubs.

Premier League clubs' wage costs exceeded £2 billion for the first time in 2014-15, with the wages/revenue ratio increasing from 58 per cent to 61 per cent. This was still 10 percentage points lower than in 2012-13.

The picture from the second-tier English Championship was mixed.

Deloitte said combined revenues were £548 million, exceeding half a billion for the first time. But wage costs rose to £541 million as clubs splashed out in the hope of reaching the "promised land of the Premier League".

Yet, the example of Leicester City, Premier League champions in 2015-16, demonstrated that financial advantage still did not guarantee success. The season before, the Midlands club had the 12th-highest revenue in the top flight, the third-smallest wage bill and narrowly escaped relegation.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Broadcast deals put EPL in a league of its own'. Print Edition | Subscribe