Football Broadcasting Deals Across the Top 5 European Leagues

By Daniel Geey and Alex Harvey

The excellent Swiss Ramble wrote a fascinating twitter thread comparing broadcasting revenues in the 2018/19 season across the top leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. I would highly recommend reading the thread in detail. As with a previous thread that the Swiss Ramble wrote on EPL broadcasting monies, I wanted to set out some of the key takeaways from the brilliant analysis.

1.            EPL Dominance

The standout statement from the thread was that:

“Every Premier League club receives more money from their TV deal than all other European clubs except Barca and Real.”

The value of the EPL is clear: its £9.3bn+, three-year broadcasting deal means that on average each EPL club receives £123m per season, in comparison to La Liga (£56m), Serie A (£52m), the Bundesliga (£52m) and Ligue 1 (£27m). On average, an EPL team makes more than twice as much broadcasting revenue than its equivalent in La Liga.

Amongst the top teams, Manchester City and Liverpool led the way with £151m and £152m respectively; significantly more than their European rivals including Barcelona (€143m), Real Madrid (€138m), Bayern Munich (€98m), Juventus (€85m) and PSG (€60m).

Perhaps the dominance of the EPL is better illustrated by looking at the amounts which the so-called “smaller” clubs received:

“The bottom club in the Premier League, Huddersfield Town (£97m), earned more from their domestic TV deal than many European giants, such as Atletico Madrid £94m, Bayern Munich £89m, Borussia Dortmund £80m and Juventus £78m.”

Even Real Madrid, one of the most illustrious clubs in European football, fell behind Everton (£129m) and Wolves (£127m) in the broadcasting revenue league table.

2.            Club Disparities and Distribution

As the Swiss Ramble points out, the “EPL distribution is the most equitable with the top club earning only 1.6 times the bottom club.”

One of the main drivers for increased competitive balance and maintaining the attractiveness of the overall league product is ensuring that outcomes and results are as uncertain as possible. That is part of the reason why La Liga, with its two historically dominant clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona, decided to change their revenue distribution structures (by agreeing to move to a collective broadcasting agreement) to make the league more attractive and (in time) increase the competitive balance across the league.

Nonetheless, at present, La Liga has the highest top to bottom club revenue ratio at 3.6. Serie A is 2.3 and Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga are 3.3. The actual revenue disparities from top to bottom club are EPL (£152m-£97m), Italy (€78m-€33m), France (€54m-€17m), Germany (€89m-€27m) and Spain (€130m-€37m).

The broadcast revenues are formulated across the different leagues as articulated by Swiss Ramble as follows:

“Spain: After years of individual deals in Spain, La Liga have introduced a collective deal, based on 50% equal share, 25% performance over last 5 years and 25% popularity (1/3 for average match day income, 2/3 for number of TV viewers).

Germany: The five-year league performance ranking (70%); the five-year ranking for both divisions (23%); the 20-year ranking for both divisions (5%); and the playing time of Germany U23s (2%).

Italy: 50% equal share; 30% performance (15% last season, 10% last 5 years, 5% historical); and 20% profile (number of supporters).

Ligue 1: 50-30-20 rule: 50% equal share (30% fixed, 20% according to club licences); 30% league standing (25% current season, 5% five previous seasons); and 20% media profile.

EPL: 50% of the domestic deal, overseas deals and commercial revenue. Merit payment (25% of domestic) is based on league position, while facility fees (25% of domestic) are based on number of times club shown live on TV. Overseas TV rights have always been distributed as equal share by the Premier League, but this will change in the 2019-22 deal. Clubs will continue to share current levels of overseas revenue equally, but any increase will be distributed based on where they finish in the league.”

3.            Domestic deals v International deals

In relation to rights sold by the leagues to domestic broadcasters from the 2019/20 season, the EPL rights have reportedly dropped 7% (£1.8bn a year to £1.7bn a year), in stark contrast to Ligue 1 whose domestic rights sale yielded nearly 60% growth (£660m to £1bn a year). La Liga too is up 15% (£0.9bn to £1bn).

Whilst the EPL’s domestic rights have plateaued, its non-UK rights have continued to soar. Its international rights revenues have increased by a third (£1bn to £1.4bn per year). La Liga’s international rights revenues continue to grow with a 30% increase from £627m to £815m. Further behind are Serie A £337m, Bundesliga £218m and Ligue 1 £73m.

When taking into account both domestic and international deals, the EPL continues to blaze the broadcasting revenues trail. Its total per year revenues equal £3.1bn, in comparison to La Liga (£1.9bn), Bundesliga (£1.3bn), Serie A (£1.2bn) and Ligue 1 (£1.1bn).

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