Revenues for Premier League clubs rose 12% to a record 5.5 billion pounds ($6.96 billion) in the 2021-22 season as European football benefited from fans returning to stadiums after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis from Deloitte.
In its annual review of football finance, Deloitte’s sports business group said the “big five” leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France saw revenue increase 10% – with La Liga revenue up 11% to €3.3 billion. ($ 3.57 billion), while the French League increased by 26%, to 2 billion euros.
Serie A was the only league among the five to record a decline in revenue, down 7% to €2.4 billion.
Premier League match-day revenue rose to £763m in 2021-22, far outstripping the 2020-21 season, of which large portions were played behind closed doors, as well as improving on pre-pandemic levels of £585m in 2018-19. season.
“Topline’s figures show that European football has emerged resilient from its most challenging period yet,” said Tim Bridge, principal partner at Deloitte Sports Business Group. “Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, crowd demand has led to record match day and commercial revenues across Europe.”
Despite higher revenues, operating profits across the top five leagues have fallen by €1.8 billion since the 2018-19 season, due in large part to a 15% increase in wage costs.
Clubs will have to adjust wage costs in the future to comply with UEFA’s new “sustainability regulations”, which were passed in 2022 and limit teams to spending no more than 70% of their revenue on their teams.
The regulations will come into force in 2022. The figure of 70% will be reached after a transitional period of three years, and will gradually decrease from 90%.
“All clubs’ focus must now shift to ensuring long-term financial sustainability across the football system, and the timely introduction of new regulations across European football to support this,” Bridge said.
“Record growth in the Premier League continues to drive revenue polarization between and within European football leagues, and each league faces new challenges resulting from increased competition, regulation and the pressures of a challenging macroeconomic climate.”
In England, combined net debt in the First Division fell 34% to £2.7bn in 2021-22 following the acquisitions of Chelsea and Newcastle United.
Net debt also fell by £110m in the Championship, but wage costs have outpaced revenue for the fifth consecutive year.
“The net debt of Championship clubs remains significant, as a large number of clubs increased their loans during the 2021-22 season,” Bridge said. “The luster of promotion to the Premier League drives the constant drive to invest in Championship clubs, often in an unsustainable way, leading some clubs to become financially overextended.”