Thanks to TV deals for the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, more money than ever is up for grabs in England.
There’s been some speculation
that the three-year deal for the Premier League that began in 2016-17 and will increase revenue from $6.6 billion to $10.5 billion has lessened the incentive for clubs to get into the European arena,
but the math proves otherwise. And because some of the Champions League money comes from out of the “market pool,” from which payments are based in part on the rights fees paid by
broadcasters to show the games in a particular country, the English teams often collect more than their foreign counterparts.
One look at the numbers reveals what’s at stake Sunday
when the Premier League season concludes with Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal vying for Champions League slots. The third-place team goes automatically into the group phase; fourth place is a
playoff spot, and fifth place means the Europa League.
(There’s also plenty at stake next Wednesday in the Europa League final when Manchester United meets Ajax in Stockholm. The
winner lands a place in the Champions League group phase, which is the only hope for Manchester United, as it will fall short of the top four.)
A good example of what kind of money is on
offer is Manchester City, which last year reached the semifinals of the Champions League and lost to Real Madrid, 1-0, on aggregate. The disappointment of falling just short of the final might have
been eased, at least financially, by the nearly $94 million it received from UEFA.
Here’s the breakdown (2015-16
Reaching the group phase: $13.4 million per team.
Performance bonus: $7.2 million.
Market pool: $52.5 million.
Final 16: $6.2 million
Semifinals: $7.8 million.
This is all TV money paid by UEFA. Revenues from ticket sales and commercial operations stemming from playing in Europe are separate.
The sum represents about 18 percent of the club’s total revenues of approximately $508 million for the 2015-16 season.
City earned more despite falling in the semis than did winner
Real Madrid, which had to settle for $89.6 million. Real netted “only” $29.1 million from the market pool and the disparity was not covered by an additional $16.8 million it was paid for
reaching and winning the final.
Here’s how the other English representatives did:
Chelsea (eliminated in round of 16): $77.3 million.
(eliminated in round of 16): $59.4 million.
Manchester United (group phase): $42.6 million.
The performance bonuses and market-pool payouts account for the disparity in
revenues for Chelsea and Arsenal even though they were knocked out at the same stage. The most money paid out in the market pool went to Juventus ($59.2 million) and Roma ($53.6 million), clear
evidence that in Italy, calcio is still king, at least on television. Juve, like Chelsea and Arsenal eliminated in the round of 16, still banked more money ($85.1 million) than did finalist Atletico
Madrid ($78 million).
As for the Europa League, the money is not nearly as good but it’s not bad and getting better. English teams reached the final last year and in 2017.
Finalist Liverpool banked $42.6 million last year and Manchester United, which plays Ajax Wednesday in the 2016-17 final, will receive a similar sum.
Europa League TV payouts will
also increase when a new deal kicks in in 2018-19. The 56 participating clubs will share about $564.5 million, an increase of about 25 percent from the $460 million paid out this year.
The Premier League pays out TV revenues based on where a team finishes in the standings, and so the three teams vying for Champions League slots are battling for the approximately $1.56 million
that represents the difference between each place. In merit money, last year’s champion Leicester City was paid $32.1 million for finishing first, Arsenal got $30.6 million as runner-up. (All 20
Premier League clubs were paid a base of $72.1 million in TV money last season.)
But the big money at stake Sunday in the final round of the Premier League season will be of
European origin. One team will automatically get the group-phase payout and opportunity for a lot more, one team has a playoff to navigate, and the fifth-place finisher will compete in a different
sector of Europe altogether.