The Coronavirus impact can potentially affect the Big 5 European Football Leagues sports business by up to € 4,000. The English Premier League faces the biggest dent. As many as 501 matches are yet to be completed in the five top flight football leagues in Europe – Premier League (92), LaLiga (74), Bundesliga (110), Serie A (124) and Ligue-1 (101) – as the COVID-19 threat has compelled the authorities to suspend the games to minimise the spread of the incurable virus.
Multinational audit and professional services network KPMG in a report has projected the effect on various sources of revenue of the Big 5 leagues.
The Premier League, the biggest and the richest, may become the most effected as it faces a gross revenue loss of € 1,150-1,250 million. The League has been suspended till April 3 after 21 matches. With 92 games still to be completed, the Premier League clubs face a threat of losing out € 170-180 million in match-day revenues; € 700-800 million in broadcast revenues and € 250-300 million in other commercial gains like sponsorship earnings and performance-linked bonuses etc.
In the United Kingdom, the Coronavirus has affected 1,950 people, killing 71.
The LaLiga clubs are poised to collectively lose €800-950 million from the suspended 74 matches if the league were not resumed on April 3 as only 19 matches have been completed so far. The revenue break ups include match play (€ 150-170 mn), broadcasting (€500-600 mn) and commercial (€150-200 mn).
One of the highest-infected nations, Spain has lost 533 lives to the COVID-19 virus while more than 11,800 positive cases have been confirmed.
In the top flight German League, twenty games have so far been affected as match days 28 and 29 were suspended. It remains to be seen how and when the league would resume. The pending 110 games may cause a dent of € 65-750 million to clubs’ gross revenues in terms of €130-140 mn from match day earnings; €300-400 million from broadcast and another €200-250mn in other commercial gains.
In Germany, of the 9,367 positive cases registered so far, 26 have lost their lives.
Italian Serie A
One of the worst-affected nations by COVID-19 outbreak, Italy’s premier division Serie A league is on hold till April 3 after only 33 matches were completed. The biggest of the Big 5 European leagues by matches’ volume, Serie A ongoing season still has 124 pending games worth gross commercial value of € 550-650 mn – € 90-100 mn match day earning, €350-450 mn broadcast values and € 100-150 mn other commercial gains.
Italy is the second most-affected nation after the COVID-19 epicentre China. There have been confirmed 31,506 confirmed Coronavirus positive cases and more than 2,500 of them could not be saved.
On the lowest pedestal among the Big 5 European Leagues, French Ligue-1 has been suspended indefinitely with 101 matches remaining for the season. The COVID-19 threat can potentially affect the league’s total revenue by up to €300-400 mn, with the break up source including €50-60 mn in match play, € 150-200 mn in broadcast rights and € 100-140 mn in other commercial values.
As entire Europe is reeling under the threat of the pandemic, France till date has confirmed 7,730 positive cases and 175 deaths.
The table below shows estimates of the threatened combined maximum losses of the top 5 leagues in the major revenue streams if the ongoing season were not resumed.
Source : KPMG
There is no certainty that how long these leagues can take to complete their remaining fixtures. If the League titles are not decided by the June end, the clubs are also bound to face issues with the players whose contracts run only up to June 30.
There have been suggestions, according to KMPG, to delay the next season to complete the present one. However, this against faces the same question. What about the players whose contracts would be over by June 30? What will be basis of their payments beyond the contractual period?
There are also concerns about the European club competitions and even more for the upcoming EURO 2020 even as these events have a more flexible time frame. In UEFA European Championships only four games were completed and 17 more are still to go when the competition was suspended last week, whereas in UEFA Europa League 23 matches are still to be played.