England's top football division in a rich league of its own

English champions Chelsea were paid £151 million from the Premier League's TV and sponsorship distribution.
English champions Chelsea were paid £151 million from the Premier League's TV and sponsorship distribution. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) - The English Premier League is set to remain the world's richest football league, with its clubs earning about €2 billion (S$3.17 billion) more collectively than those in Europe's second richest, the German Bundesliga, according to a review of football finances by the consultants Deloitte.

The total £3.6 billion (S$6.4 billion) earnings of Premier League clubs in 2015-16, as reported by The Guardian's own review of the clubs' most recently published accounts, are projected to have increased to £4.5 billion last term. The last campaign marked the first season of the league's vastly more lucrative three-year television deal.

The size of domestic and international TV rights sales - £2.8 billion per season, £8.4 billion in total over three years - is about double that of the Bundesliga's improved deals, which are expected to pay around €1.4 billion annually to the clubs in Germany's top two divisions.

Although England's clubs will not publish their accounts from last season for several months, the Premier League has already disclosed its distribution of TV and sponsorship money last season, which Deloitte calculates was 45 per cent higher than in 2015-16.

The size of that increase, and the gaping financial superiority over the other leagues, is reflected in Premier League clubs' transfer activity so far this summer. They account for the majority of the biggest signings and the continuing attraction of players and managers from other European leagues.

English champions Chelsea were paid £151 million from the Premier League's TV and sponsorship distribution. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United all earned more than £140 million, while Sunderland, who finished bottom, received £93 million.

  • £4.5b

    Projected total earnings of the 20 English Premier League clubs last season. That is equivalent to S$7.99 billion.

  • £151m

    Premier League's TV and sponsorship distribution paid to champions Chelsea last term. Bottom-placed Sunderland still managed to receive £93 million.

Those earnings, by far a record for any domestic league's TV deals, included the clubs' share of £782 million the Premier League secured per season from sales of TV rights overseas, which is distributed equally - £39.09 million to each club.

Deloitte projects England's top 20 clubs will make €5.1 billion in the new season, Bundesliga clubs €3.2 billion, Spanish LaLiga clubs €3 billion, with less than €2 billion forecast to be earned by the clubs in each of the French and Italian top divisions.

The gap created by the Premier League is widening in England too. Its £2.8 billion annual TV deal is almost 30 times greater than that of the English Football League, which is reported to be £90 million across all three divisions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'England's top football division in a rich league of its own'. Print Edition | Subscribe