It’s well known that the Premier League is one of the biggest, most well known and lucrative sports leagues around the globe. With Deloitte publishing their 32nd annual review of football finance, we thought we’d take a look at just how much revenue the Premier League generates a year.
How much revenue does the English Premier League generate? In 2021-22 the Premier League generated a record £5.455 billion in revenue. This was up 12% from £4.869 billion in 2020-21 and is expected to rise to around £5.75 billion when the results for the most recent 2022-23 season are published. For context this is more than Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga combined. It makes up a 5th of the entire £25.6 billion revenue generated by all European leagues in 2021-22.
It is important for us to stress here that revenue isn’t the same as profit. Revenue is the money coming into Premier League clubs through all their various streams, profit is the sum of this revenue, minus their outgoings. We explore more on this below.
|2021-22 Revenue for Europe’s Top 5 Leagues|
|Premier League||England||£5.54 Billion|
|La Liga||Spain||£2.82 Billion|
|Serie A||Italy||£2.02 Billion|
|Ligue 1||France||£1.75 Billion|
Premier League Revenue last 10 seasons:
You can see from the data above that the Premier League’s annual revenue had been swiftly growing, peaking in 2018-19 ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite a slight downturn in revenue during the 2 years affected by the pandemic, the Premier League emerged remarkably unscathed, posting record revenue in the most recently published 2021-22 season. Revenue for the already completed 2022-23 season is expected to be up again, with the just started 2023-24 season also expected to see a further increase. That takes us into the proximity of the new UK broadcast deal starting, something which is sure to spike revenue even further when the 2025-26 season kicks off.
In total over the last 10 reported seasons the Premier League has generated over £40 billion in revenue.
What is Premier League clubs revenue made up of?
Premier League Clubs revenue can broadly be split into 3 main categories;
- Both domestic and international broadcast contracts across all competitions
- Shirt Sponsorship, in stadium advertising, other commercial deals
- Gate receipts, merchandise sales, stadium generated revenue etc
The above categories exclude player sales as a revenue stream, as this is both a source of potential profit and potential loss. Clubs like Brighton have a strong recent track record of generating revenue through player sales. Clubs like Manchester United have a track record of stacking up large losses. So it is best dealt with separately to revenue.
As an aggregated figure of all Premier League clubs Matchday revenue is around 15%, Broadcasting around 55% and Sponsorship/Commercial revenue is around 30%. Each of these categories is similar in percentage terms to other European leagues, however the Premier League far outstrips them in total value.
The Premier League is the dominant force in global football finance and continues to grow, sucking in more revenue as it grows.
Football is a star driven sport and to generate the money the Premier League does it needs to have the best players. That has been increasingly shown in the transfer market, where £2.7billion was spent by the Premier League’s 20 clubs in 2022-23. Revenue growth is projected for the Premier League in the coming seasons where other major European Leagues are expected to fall well short of the Premier Leagues trajectory or even flatline entirely. Giving more of an advantage to the English top flight.
Do Premier League teams make a profit?
With such a huge headline revenue figure it would be easy to assume that Premier League clubs are bomb proof and all this talk of financial fair play (FFP) is overblown. Things couldn’t be further from the truth, while the Premier League and most of European football should have a secure financial future if run sustainably, there are warning signs that this isn’t happening. It is sustainability that is at the heart of UEFA’s FFP regulations.
According to the Deloitte study Premier League clubs’ operating profits, excluding player transfers both in & out, totalled £459m in 2021-22, showing no change from the previous season as things stabilized post pandemic. Revenue was up, but increased costs of getting fans back into the stands and the general increase of things like global energy prices ate into this potential profit margin.
When player transfers are factored in the story is bleaker. For the fourth season in a row aggregated pre-tax losses were reported (£607m). This was £100m lower than in 2020/21 (£707m). It is key to note that a club doesn’t take on the entire transfer fee in the financial year the deal is purchased. The fee is “amortized” over the length of the player’s contract with the club. This means the total fee is shared equally by the following seasons, showing a loss until the contract expires. If a player is sold however, the money received would usually hit the clubs books all at once. This makes it tricky to truly ascertain the impact transfers, which can be inconsistent in nature, have on the true operating profit of a club.
The bottom line is that while Premier League clubs do in theory make a profit, this is often spent on player transfers, in a bid to enhance the onfield product, win trophies or simply avoid relegation from the Premier League.
What do Premier League clubs spend on player wages?
Across all of European Football revenue growth is being outpaced by wage increases and operating profits are also in decline. Aggregate revenue for European football leagues might have increased from €27.6 billion in 2020-21 to €29.5bn the following year but a 15% rise in wage costs over the last four years is an indication of where it is being spent.
While the Premier League itself managed to increase revenue (£585 million) by more than it grew wages (£192 million) last season, the rising cost of player salaries is still a major threat to the future of many football clubs. Average wages in the Premier League rose to £186 million per club last season, the next highest was £102 million in La Liga. This is a sign that the fast paced growth of the Premier Leagues revenue being diverted into player wages could soon tip the balance of financial power permanently in the favor of Premier League clubs. This could cause major disadvantages and lack of competition not only for other European Clubs, but also for lower tier English clubs fighting to climb and stay in the Premier League. At its heart football needs competition, without rivals or the jeopardy of relegation for the bigger clubs in the Premier League, engagement in the league may well start to fail.
|2021-22 Premier League Revenue & Player Wages by Club|
|Club||Revenue (Million £)||Player Wage (Million £)||Player Wage (% of revenue)|
Even within the Premier League there is inequality with wages heavily tilted toward the “big six” clubs. The Big Six’s share of wage costs increased to 52%, meaning that more than half of the total Premier League wage bill is spent on the squads for Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham or Chelsea.
This would not cause them to fall foul of either Premier League or UEFA FFP rules, in theory. Driven by Manchester City’s record-breaking turnover of £619 million in 2021-22, the big six combined to generate £3.9billion of income between them. That sum amounted to 56% of the Premier League’s total income, with all transfers in and out factored in. So while 52% of the wages split between just 6/20 clubs seems high, these same clubs are also responsible for generating a higher percentage of the leagues total income.