UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations have created a more stable and sustainable financial position for European top-division clubs.
Between 2010 and 2016, European club football has witnessed an overall growth in revenue heads except for donations, grants, and other one-off revenues. The revenue from every other head has shown a significant growth. Clubs’ income from gate receipts is up by 7%, sponsorship and commercial revenues have grown at 59%, TV revenues during the period have registered a 64% growth, transfer income is up 105% and UEFA prize money and solidarity payments have accounted a rise of 106%. Only the revenues from the less significant and less reliable heads like donations, grant, and other one-off opportunities have seen a decline 12%.
The information is revealed in UEFA’s ninth club licensing benchmarking report on European club football – The European Club Footballing Landscape.
The report again highlights how UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations have transformed football finances, creating a more stable and sustainable financial position for European top-division clubs. The report indicates a continuity in the positive revenue, investment and profitability trends.
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The report has highlighted a sequence of positivity in football clubs finances in Europe in the wake of the Financial Fair Play regulations.
The report builds on those of previous years, setting discussions about competitive balance in context by documenting the different aspects of financial polarisation, with Aleksander Čeferin stating: “The data from this report and other research from our new intelligence center helps inform our decision-making. Once more, we cannot help but note that the polarisation of commercial and sponsorship revenues between the top tier of clubs and the rest is accelerating. As the guardians of the game, UEFA must ensure that football remains competitive even as financial gaps are augmented by globalization and technological change.”
Here are some other key findings from the report:
• The wide disparity in TV revenues continues to be the main differentiating factor between leagues, with TV deals in the ‘big 6’ leagues generating 11 times the revenue of those in the other 48.
• Clubs’ ability to leverage their brands is the single most important differentiating factor between the top dozen clubs and the rest. Looking back across the last two business cycles (2010 to 2016), the 12 largest and most global clubs have generated an extraordinary €1.58bn increase in income from their sponsorship deals and commercial activities. This compares with increases of just €700m for the rest of Europe’s top-division clubs combined.
The report has focused beyond the pure financial metrics. The study indicates that across the ‘top 15’ European leagues, 40 clubs have been taken over by foreign investors since 2010, with China the most active in the last two seasons. Since 2016, more than 70% of all foreign takeovers in the ‘top 15’ leagues have involved Chinese investors. In this period, Chinese owners have taken over clubs in the English Premier League and Championship, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga and the Netherland’s Eredivisie.
Social media analysis, states the report, highlights the rise of player brands. The 20 top club brands still welcome higher numbers of Facebook followers than their top players, the top 20 player brands now have more than 50% more Twitter followers than their clubs.
This report covers the financial developments of 681 top-division clubs across more than 50 leagues and documents the growing financial polarisation between clubs and their diverging business models