Top football leagues take €4 billion hit from Coronavirus

20 March 2020 3 min. read
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The impact of the coronavirus on Europe’s national football competitions are huge. Not just are fans – understandably – being left out in the cold, the impact on club finances will run into the billions if the season gets cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The global corona outbreak has paralysed much of public life, including football. Initially mitigated by playing without an audience in stadiums, all major European football competitions have now come to a halt. How long football’s lockdown will last is unknown – with current insights, the Bundesliga is set to resume on April 3 and the Premier League on April 30.

However, with the number of infected by the Coronavirus still growing in Europe, there are no guarantees that the ball will roll again in the following weeks. According to some pundits, the full season may very well be over, handing the UEFA and the authorities of domestic leagues with mammoth decisions on how to wind up their competitions. Who shall be crowned champion? And which teams will land next year’s European football spots, and which ones will slide into relegation?

Coronavirus is costing Europe's football leagues billions in damages

With football the globe’s largest sport in revenues, the financial impact is set to be huge. According to an analysis by KPMG, the continents five largest league will take a hit of €4.1 billion in missed revenues. Not surprisingly, Europe's richest football league, the English Premier League, is hit the hardest, with British clubs expected to lose up to €1.2 billion.

The Spanish Primera División – also known as La Liga – would see between €800 million and €950 million of funds evaporate, while the German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A and the French Ligue 1 could see up to €750 million, €650 million and €400 million respectively written off from their forecasted income. 

The amounts are based on three main components: no income from stadium visits, lost income from broadcasting rights and a drop in other commercial activities, such as merchandising. “The clubs feel the greatest pain with missed broadcasting revenues, which generally make up half of the lost income,” said Paul Adriani from KPMG.

He explained that in some countries broadcasting revenues depend on the number of matches televised. “TV channels that have collective deals with leagues can claim money back if matches are cancelled and the season is not completed.”

Meanwhile, football clubs will have to decide whether or not they reimburse season ticket holders. Adriani: “Large clubs may be insured for this.” At the other side of the equation, clubs will save some money through for instance lower expenditures on travel, security and cleaning, but this effect “is relatively limited”.

As always, the development also provide opportunities, in particular for cash rich clubs. “The crisis is also affecting the players themselves, their value and the overall transfer market. It is also not inconceivable that larger clubs will take advantage of the situation by attracting players from rivals that struggle to cope with their loss of income.”