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UK Premier League set to score with £3.2B sales

U.K. soccer may have put away its boots for the summer, but the Premier League is still set to score big in the 2013-14 season. According to sports business analysts at Deloitte, the league is set enjoy sales of £3.2 billion—up almost 30 percent on last season's record high.

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"Once again the global appeal of the Premier League has continued to drive commercial revenue growth, particularly at the highest-ranked Premier League clubs," said Deloitte in its annual review of soccer finance on Thursday.

The Premier League is England's top professional league for men's football clubs. It includes some of the world's most successful, famous and wealthiest teams such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

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Revenues were boosted this season by new broadcast deals, which saw domestic rights to air Premier League matches split for the first-time between competing broadcasters, BT Sport and BSkyB.

"That competition in the market has driven an increase in the domestic rights," Adam Bull, senior consultant in Deloitte's sports business group, told CNBC.

He said increasing global interest in U.K soccer had also seen revenue from international broadcasting rights increase.

"Premier League global interest is still growing," Bull told CNBC. "Both in terms of the sponsors looking to get involved and the increase in interest in owning a club from overseas investors.

"The number of overseas players in the Premier League also increases interest in their home countries."

He said the uptick was a reflection of a Europe-wide trend of rising revenues for the five biggest soccer leagues—England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A and France's Ligue 1. This is lead by clubs likes Paris Saint-Germain in France and Bayern Munich and Dortmund in Germany.

In the 2012/2013 season, the Premier League generated record-high revenue of £2.5 billion, making it the most lucrative league of any in Europe.

Match day revenue also increased by six percent last season, with fewer unsold seats at games than ever before.

Bull forecast that wage costs increased once again this season. However, the large uptick in expected revenue means that the wage-to-revenue ratio is seen declining to below 70 percent, from a high of 71 percent.

"The pattern in spending on wages following previous increases in broadcast deals suggests it's likely around 60 percent or more of the revenue increase in 2013/14 will flow through to wages," he said in the Deloitte report.

"On that basis, we would expect Premier League total wage costs to reach a new record level of around £2.2 billion. However, given the forecast increase in revenue, this would also return the wages to revenue ratio below 70 percent for the first time since 2009/10."

Bull told CNBC that soccer clubs typically spent more money on players in advance of big broadcast deals, like those that came into force this season. However, a sub-0.7 wage-to-revenue ratio is viewed as healthier for club finances.

"If you go beyond that, you will likely need additional donor support," he told CNBC.

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Five Premier League clubs made it into Sportingintelligence's 2014 top-20 list of best-paid teams from any sport—Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

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Manchester City came in as the best-paid team in the world, beating both the New York Yankees and LA Dodgers of Major League Baseball. According to Sportingintelligence, the average first-team player at Manchester City earned $8.1 million per year, or $155,960 per week.

Nonetheless, Bull noted that wage-to-revenue ratios for the Championship, the second-highest division in English soccer, were higher than in the Premier League.

"The 2012/13 wages-to-revenue ratio for Championship clubs of 106 percent is the highest ever recorded by an English division and is clearly unsustainable without ongoing owner support," he said in Deloitte's report.

"The severity of the punishments applied to those who have not complied with the rules in the 2013/14 season and the eventual result of efforts to change the rules, will determine the extent to which they present an effective deterrent to widespread overspending."