European soccer posts record revenues with the English Premier League leading the way

Key Points
  • The report found that as a whole, the "big five" European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France) generated a record £13.8 billion in revenue in 2017/18, which was a 6% increase from the previous year.
  • English clubs have also dominated Europe during 2018/19 as well, with both major club competitions producing all-English finals.
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Europe's 'big five' soccer leagues generate record revenue: Deloitte

The 92 professional soccer teams in the English Premier League (EPL) and the three divisions below have amassed a record £5.8 billion ($7.3 billion) in revenue during the 2017/18 season, topping the table of Europe's elite leagues.

Deloitte Sports Business Group's annual review of football finance found that Premier League club revenues rose to £4.8 billion, an increase of 6% from the season before. This was driven by growth in the distribution to English clubs by governing body UEFA, as five teams competed in the UEFA Champions League (Europe's top-tier soccer competition) for the first time in 2017/18, which also saw Liverpool reach the final, before eventually losing to Real Madrid.

The report found that as a whole, the "big five" European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France) generated a record £13.8 billion in revenue in 2017/18, which was a 6% increase from the previous year.

The European football market is now estimated to be worth £25.1 billion. In revenue terms, the Premier League continues to lead the way and is 72% larger than its nearest competitor, Germany's Bundesliga. However, German stadiums remain the best attended across the European leagues, with average crowds of over 43,000 for this current season.

Fabian Schar of Newcastle United battles for possession with Bernard of Everton during a Premier League match on December 5, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. 
Jan Kruger | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

"European club football is in the strongest financial position that we've ever seen … While the Premier League retains its leading position financially, we expect to see other leagues continue to grow in the coming years," said Dan Jones of Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

English clubs have also dominated Europe during 2018/19 as well, with both major club competitions producing all-English finals. Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool head to Madrid this weekend for the Champions League final, while Chelsea overcame Arsenal in Europe's secondary Europa League tournament on Wednesday evening.

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Europe's 'big five' soccer leagues generate record revenue: Deloitte

Add to that Manchester City's clean sweep of three domestic trophies in England and its clear the Premier League is producing a crop of dominant teams.

"We have seen Premier League clubs' wage expenditure increase at a faster rate than revenue growth in 2017/18," added Jones. "This is the same pattern as observed in the second year of the previous Premier League broadcast rights cycles, as clubs continue to invest in playing talent."

Team's in England's second-tier division, the EFL Championship, also generated record combined revenues for 2017/18 of £749 million, a 4% increase from the previous year. The wages-revenue ratio of English Championship clubs increased from 99% to 106%. Such are the rewards of promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, clubs are willing to increase the level of financial risk over a relatively short period of time to achieve this.

Former European champions Aston Villa claimed the final spot in the Premier League for the 2019/2020 season by virtue of winning the EFL Championship play-off final Monday, which secured the club at least £170 million over the next three seasons. It joins Norwich City and Sheffield United as the other clubs to gain promotion.

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