TV deal fuels proportional rise in spree

LONDON • The sums may sound eye-watering and at least one analyst has warned of the unsustainable "madness" of this transfer window, but the figures show that Premier League clubs have merely spent a similar proportion of their income as in previous years. Almost every summer brings a record amount of spending, for the simple reason that the clubs' income from television money has continued to rise.

The total spent by Premier League clubs this window will be finalised in a few days but it will be about £1.4 billion (S$2.4 billion), an increase of £240 million, or 21 per cent, over last year.

This window, however, came after the first year of the League's £8.5 billion TV deal, which in total turnover for the 20 clubs rose by £820 million on the previous season to about £4.4 billion - a 22 per rise. By that measure, it could even be argued that clubs have shown a little restraint.

Analyst Dan Jones, a partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said that the level of spending in this window was not out of step with previous years.

"These are the biggest numbers we have ever seen but these are the biggest revenues we have ever seen," he said. "It is absolutely not out of step on previous years and we don't anticipate revenues going down any time soon.

"I was asked in the mid-1990s, on the back of Euro '96, if this was sustainable and if the bubble was going to burst, but the fundamentals remain very strong."

Jones said even Neymar's €222 million (S$359 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain could be viewed in the same context as other transfers, such as Zinedine Zidane's £46 million move to Real Madrid in 2001.

Other analysts claim that the spending shows the transfer window needs reforming.

Dr Andrew Jones, a researcher at Coventry University's Centre for Business in Society, referred to the "madness" of transfer-deadline day and said: "Without rectifying some of the imbalances in the market it is likely there could be serious long-term consequences for football."

Arguably a more significant factor is the amount spent on players' wages. The proportion of wages to turnover has remained at about 60 per cent in recent seasons and has dropped from 67 per cent in 2012-13.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline 'TV deal fuels proportional rise in spree'. Print Edition | Subscribe