Premier League revenue will suffer $1.8b virus shock

All the remaining 92 games will be played behind closed doors and a strict limit of 300 people will be allowed in stadiums on match days. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The Premier League will take an estimated £1 billion (S$1.76 billion) hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, with empty stadiums and lingering safety fears awaiting its clubs as they prepare to restart the season.

The English top flight has been suspended since March 13 and while it will resume next Wednesday, three months of no live football is expected to weigh heavily on its revenue for the 2019-2020 financial year.

According to an annual review of the game by Deloitte Sports Business Group that was published yesterday, around £500 million of the lost revenue will be the result of rebates to broadcasters, a reduction in ticket sales due to games being played behind closed doors and reduced commercial contracts.

Another £500 million will be deferred to the following financial year.

With a reported total revenue of £5.2 billion in the 2018-19 term, the Premier League is the world's richest football competition by far and it continues to attract interest from overseas buyers.

Despite a projected rapid recovery in finances, the pandemic could force Premier League clubs to reassess cost controls and focus on long-term stability, according to Dan Jones, partner and head of the sports business group at Deloitte.

"The decisions taken now will determine if the 2019-20 season is seen in future as the end of a golden age or the start of a better, stronger new era," he said.

Separately, all the Premier League clubs yesterday approved a range of match-day protocols for the resumption, starting with the Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United games.

The latest shareholders' meeting discussed the details of medical and operational rules, including how many backroom staff will be allowed to attend away games.

Clubs will also have a minute's silence for those who have died in the pandemic while kits will also sport a heart-shaped badge in honour of the work done by the National Health Service and front-line staff.


  • English Premier League £5.2 billion (S$9.1 billion)

    Spanish La Liga €3.4 billion (S$5.4 billion)

    German Bundesliga €3.3 billion (S$5.2 billion)

    Italian Serie A €2.5 billion (S$4 billion)

    French Ligue 1 €1.9 billion (S$3 billion)

All the remaining 92 games will be played behind closed doors and a strict limit of 300 people - including broadcast staff, media personnel, commentators, doping officials and scouts - will be allowed in stadiums on match days.

Stadiums will be split into red, amber and green zones with the red zone to include 20 players, 12 coaching and medical staff and a further five "essential staff" per team.

Other measures involve the deep cleaning of corner flags, goal posts, substitution boards and match balls, while safe distancing must be observed when appropriate.

These are among the requirements imposed by the British government so that professional sports, including top-tier football, can safely resume.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2020, with the headline Premier League revenue will suffer $1.8b virus shock. Subscribe