The Premier League continues to lead the way as Europe’s most valuable football tournament, although the ‘Big Five’ leagues have experienced solid commercial growth across the board.

According to Deloitte’s Football Money League covering the 2022/23 season, the Big Five of England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1 experienced revenue growth of 14% to €19.6bn.

The company has attributed this to an uptick in matchday revenue – something which applied particularly to the German and Italian leagues – alongside sponsorship deals and the utilisation of stadia outside of football, which contributed heavily to the sport’s success in 2023/24. 

The 2022 World Cup’s impact on fan engagement in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns of the previous two to three years was also cited as re-energising the sport.

Tim Bridge, Lead Partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The 2022 FIFA World Cup, the lifting of final COVID-19 restrictions and the fervour of fans engaging with football has led to strong growth in the European football market in 2022/23.”

English football leads the table

Whilst the England national team may not be producing the most convincing performances at Euro 2024, the country’s domestic top-flight is storming the financial league table.

The Premier League has cemented its standing as the most valuable sports league in Europe and the most valuable football league globally. The league’s revenue rose 11% to £6.1bn during the 2022/23 season, up from £5.5bn the year prior.

This marks a record-breaking season for the Premier League, home to some of the most widely followed clubs, and by extension, the most widely recognised brands in football, with revenue surpassing the £6bn revenue mark for the first time.

Matchday revenue was up 14% to £867m, driven by a record league attendance level of 15 million throughout the entire year. Of the league’s 20 clubs, Manchester United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City set the five highest attendance records during 2022/23. 

Commercial revenue stood at £2bn, up from £1.79bn the year prior. There was also a 9% uptick in broadcasting revenue, with the league holding partnerships with some huge names in international media such as Sky Sports, NBC, Canal+ and DAZN, among others.

Regarding commercial revenue, sponsor interest in the Premier League remains as eager as ever. Given the above-mentioned matchday attendees and extensive media visibility, this is hardly surprising.

The 2022/23 season covered by Deloitte saw several deals signed. That year’s league champions, Man City, partnered with Sportybet and Axi during the season.

Other examples saw Bournemouth sign a betting partner in Dafabet prior to the team’s top-flight return in 2022, whilst Crystal Palace did the inverse by swapping a betting partner, BK8, with car retailer Cinch – although the team has now returned to the gambling sector via a deal with xxxx.

However, it was not all rosy for the Premier League during 2022/23. Overall, clubs’ operating profits fell 18% to £393m as operating expenses increased to £1.6bn, partly due to inflation, but the total wage bill also exceeded £4bn for the first time. Total net club debt rose from £2.7bn to £3.1bn.

Continental competitions gaining pace

The Premier League is, of course, not the only league in the world, as the combined European Cup/Champions League trophy count of 33 between Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan serves as a solid reminder.

Whilst England’s top flight might lead the league table in terms of revenue, the domestic leagues of Germany, Spain, Italy and France still stand out as some of the world’s most valuable, surpassed only by the major leagues of North America.

Starting with Germany, Bundesliga clubs generated total revenue of €3.8bn in 2022/23, up from €3.1bn the year prior. Matchday revenue doubled to €500m, driven by the highest average attendance across all of the Big Five.

Broadcast revenue stood at €1.5bn, attributed by Deloitte to the strong performance German clubs had in that year’s Champions League. The return of fans to stadiums during the period had a huge impact on the league, driving a bounceback from the previous year which had significantly hindered financial performance.

Turning to Spain, LaLiga broke records with aggregate revenue of €3.5bn. Whilst broadcasting revenue dropped by 8% – an inverse of the German impact due to Spanish clubs’ European performance lagging – matchday revenue was up 32% to €131m and commercial revenue was up 29% to €274m.

In Italy, Serie A revenue stood at €2.9bn, a league record and a 22% season-over-season increase, Matchday revenue rose 88% to €434m, broadcast revenue by 15% to €1.5bn and commercial revenue by 14% to €900m.

Lastly, France’s Ligue One revenue grew 17% to €2.4bn, in the face of a 3% decrease in broadcasting revenue to €700m and what Deloitte describes as ‘muted growth’ for both matchday and commercial revenue. 

“As plans and conversations continue across leagues in terms of further regulation and investment, European football is sitting at an inflexion point,” Bridge commented.

“Football is growing into an ever more globally connected game, and this brings new challenges to maintaining competitive balance, strong governance and regulation. 

“Leaders across the industry must provide a united front in following good governance principles to build a future for European football that fans, players and partners across leagues can be excited for.”

Previous articleEintracht Frankfurt’s Adidas deal a ‘step towards international competitiveness’
Next articleLigue 2 secures BeIN Sports as broadcaster in new €200m deal