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3 Financial Facts about The Beautiful Game

Wednesday Nov 18, 2020

 In the past year, European football has reached record levels of economic strength and revenue generation. Unfortunately, on the other end of the scale, some teams have been expelled from their respective leagues due to COVID-related monetary difficulties. For better or worse, it really has been a turbulent few seasons for the beautiful game.

 If you want to find out more about the fiscal state of play that football currently finds itself in, be sure to read on. Here are three financial facts about the beautiful game that you probably didn’t know:

 Revenue highlights

 Football is big business, and it’s growing bigger by the year. Even with the small matter of a global pandemic to contend with, soccer powerhouses and governing organisations have en-joyed incredible revenue scalability over the course of 2020. The Premier League alone has generated more revenues and earnings this year than over 50 small leagues combined.

 Here are a few astronomical revenue highlights:

 • A whopping 17 English clubs occupy the top 20 broadcast revenue list
 • Top-division clubs (Namely Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Ju-ventus) have recently reported a combined revenue total of £20bn
 • 40% of revenue growth is a result of continued support from domestic TV channels, and this will only grow larger if the lockdown continues

 Operating costs

 Like other businesses, football clubs have to contend with a number of operating costs on a daily basis in order to stay afloat. As detailed at, some intriguing facts regarding these costs include:

 • Club operating costs vary from country to country — some teams absorb costs as low as 23%, whereas others are forced to shell out 88% of their overall revenue.
 • Operating costs are absorbing more and more revenue income with each passing year — since the all-time low of 32% in 2017, this percentage is now reaching 40%
 • Day-to-day operating costs are driven heavily by commercial development.
 • Non-operating costs (costs that are incurred from activities that are in no way related to the core operations of a football club) are now at a record 20% high.

 The outlook

 For better or worse, COVID-19 has shaken the world of football finance to its core. While some teams have thrived as a result of enhanced TV exposure, other teams have crumbled due to the fact that they haven’t been able to make money from their gate receipts. Most lower league teams rely heavily on their matchday prices, and their current lack of fans is having a profound negative impact on their ability to turn over a profit and, in turn, stay afloat.

 While football players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi sit on astronomical net worths of $400,000,000+ (stats courtesy of the cashlady Richest Sports League table), football clubs like Bury have been forced to shut their doors for good as a result of financial problems. For those who have risen to the top of their profession, the financial outlook is looking as healthy now as it always has done. For those who haven’t, the future isn’t looking as bright.

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