The finance of football around the world continues to grow and we regularly see mind-boggling sums of money bounded around when people talk about player transfers, club takeovers and TV money.
The 2017 Deloitte Football Money League clearly shows the significant advantage that the Premier League TV money deal has given club’s revenue, but figures also show that revenues have grown right across European football as well. Prices of tickets, food and merchandise continue to be high despite the game being the richest it has ever been.
(All pictures labelled for non-commercial use)
Combined revenues for the top 20 teams in the report climbed from £6.63bn to a record £7.4bn. There was a record equalling 8 Premier League clubs in the top 20 of the list with Leicester City climbing to 20th after their Premier League title triumph and Manchester United regained top spot in the world due to their return to Champions League football and growth in commercial revenue. As the report says, there could be a record number of English clubs in the top 30 of the league from the current 2016/2017 season onwards as the £8bn global TV deal kicks in to boost revenues even further.
Despite these figures, fans in England seem to be continually losing out in terms of the cost watching football; both live and on television. Not only has the cost of all watching all football on English television hit £1,000 for a viewer per year (see my blog post on the cost of football to TV viewers), but matchday costs continue to be high in comparison to other countries. For example, the cheapest season ticket at the Emirates stadium to watch Arsenal for this season is £1,014, and prices climb up to a massive £2,013. In comparison, the cheapest season ticket at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich is just £120.89, and even lower in Spain where Barcelona charge just £113.93 (figures from BBC on London Evening standard report)
Of course, these prices in Europe hike up into the thousands for more exclusive seats for the season, but the fact that these prices are available in other countries and cater for all fans is something that the English game should learn from. This lower ticket prices in the Bundesliga are highlighted by matchday revenues shown in the Deloitte report. For example, Borussia Dortmund generated £45.7m on matchdays last season, but Liverpool generated £56.8m in the Premier League. This is despite Dortmund having a stadium with a capacity of 80,000, and Liverpool with just 45,000; proving much higher prices in England.
Some progress has been made this season with the Premier League bringing in a price cap of £30 for away fans tickets, and the Football Supporters federation campaign for the prices to be cut even further to £20. They argue that football is becoming unaffordable for many fans who therefore do not get to see matches. They are correct, and if clubs started taking into account their own wealth, fans wealth, player wages and club revenues, football would see an increase in fans due to less people being priced out of watching.
Here is a slideshow of the most valuable clubs in the world (according to the Forbes football rich list, all pictures labelled for non-commercial use):