5 charts from Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2021

30 July 2021 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read
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Global professional services firm Deloitte has released the 2021 edition of its ‘Annual Review of Football Finance’ report – an annual in-depth report on the financials of Europe’s top football leagues. A round-up of the report’s key findings.

The European football market contracted by 13% in 2019/20, as overall revenues fell by €3.7 billion to €25.2 billion. This is the first reduction in revenues since the impact of the global financial crisis was felt in 2008/09. 

European football market size - 201819 and 201920

Each of the European leagues was affected by the Covid-19-induced football crisis. However, the financial impact on each league, both in the short and medium term, has varied, as each league has forged its own path through the crisis. These paths were driven by differing responses in terms of recommencement of matches, rebates to broadcasters, negotiations with commercial partners, and financial measures to support clubs. 

The big five

An overview of the financial performance of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues:

‘Big five’ European league clubs’ revenue – 2019/20

England: The total revenue of Premier League clubs decreased by well over half a billion pounds (£648 million, 13%) in 2019/20 to £4.5 billion. This was the first drop in total revenue in Premier League history and the lowest total revenue level since 2015/16, with the financial impact of Covid-19 felt by all clubs, from title to relegation contenders. 

Revenues of the Premier League clubs is projected to rebound strongly in the coming two seasons:

Premier League clubs’ revenues 2017/18-2021/22

Germany: The Bundesliga was the first major European sports league to resume matches following the pandemic-enforced pause in March 2020, and the only ‘big five’ league to complete its season within the 2019/20 financial year. As such, total revenues only declined by 4% (€137 million) to €3.2 billion. 

Spain: Aggregate revenues of the 20 La Liga clubs fell 8% (€261 million) to €3.1 billion in the 2019/20 season. 

Italy: Serie A clubs’ combined revenues fell 18% (€443 million) to €2.1 billion in 2019/20, as Italy became the initial focal point for Covid-19 in Europe, which halted competitive football games as early as 9 March 2020. 

France: Ligue 1 clubs’ total revenues fell 16% (€304 million) to €1.6 billion in 2019/20, more than €450 million behind the Serie A, as Ligue 1 became the only top flight European league to cancel its season in response to the pandemic. 

‘Big five’ European league clubs’ revenue and wage costs – 2018/19 and 2019/20

Whilst the aggregate revenues of the ‘big five’ leagues decreased by 11% to €15.1 billion in 2019/20, total wage costs remained flat. This produced one short-term dramatic impact as the aggregate club wages to revenue ratios for the Premier League and Ligue 1 reached record levels, and the other three ‘big five’ leagues reached their highest levels since the early years of this century. 

Other leagues

The Russian Premier League is the sixth-richest football league in Europe, with total revenues of €877 million, followed by Turkey, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Scotland.

An overview of the revenues of non-big five European football leagues: 

Selected-other-European-league-clubs-revenue---201920

Reflecting on the report’s findings, Dan Jones, Partner at Deloitte said, “The impact of Covid-19 has been felt throughout the football ecosystem, and has the potential to exacerbate the financial polarisation in European football.”

Commenting on the European Super League which took many by surprise, and other initiatives by clubs to by-pass the UEFA or local associations, Jones said, “What has become clear over the past year is that a collaborative, coordinated approach to discussions on financial instability provides the best platform for meaningful change.” 

Important note on the data

It should be considered that this edition of Deloitte’s report only represents the financial impact of the first three to four months of Covid-19 with clubs generating matchday revenue for the majority of the season. The report’s next edition will reveal the full financial impact of Covid-19, having incorporated the impact of empty stadia throughout the vast majority of the 2020/21 season and the re-evaluation of commercial partnerships. 

The next edition of Deloitte’s ‘Annual Review of Football Finance’ report will be launched months before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.