UEFA Champions League Broadcasting Rights Revenues Explained

In November 2013, BT won the exclusive rights to show 350 live Champions League and Europa League matches in the UK for three seasons from the 2015-16 season. BT paid around £900m to UEFA for the live rights. Previously, Sky and ITV (who are the current incumbents) paid just under £400m. This deal is different to past agreements with UEFA who had previously split the exclusive rights between two broadcasters. This time, BT won all the available packages with the consequence that for the first time, no live Champions League or Europa League action will be available on UK terrestrial TV. It has been reported however that each UK club, once a season, will be screened free of charge on the BT platform including both Champions League and Europa League finals too.

Prize Money for Champions League Participation

The Champions League prize money is split between a fixed amount for set performance thresholds (as set out in the second below table) and a TV pool allocation. At the time of writing, the revenue figures for the 2013-14 have just been published. The top ten earning Champions League clubs in the 2013-14 season are set out below:

Champions League Prize MoneyThe below table demonstrates the fixed amounts that each Champions League participating team earns throughout the various stages.

Breakdown of Champions League Performance Prize Money

The second part of the revenue distribution is the important part for the new BT deal. In addition to the above fixed performance amounts, the clubs who qualify for the Champions League receive a proportion of the TV money paid by the national broadcaster. Therefore the size of the revenue pool is linked to the value of the country’s TV market. The revenue pool distribution is split between where a club finished in its previous season and how successful it is in the current competition. The Premier League champions receive 40% of the TV revenue pool, second place receives 30%, third place 20% and fourth place 10%. Where a team finished in its domestic league is important for its UEFA revenues. With the increased BT deal from 2015-16 season, clubs qualifying for Champions League competition will share in the increase of the TV pool money. It is not inconceivable that UEFA’s distribution could reach over £60m if the 2014-15 Premier League champions then win the Champions League competition in the following season and the other Premier League clubs (who qualified for the Champions League) fail to make the later rounds (which gives a club a larger share of the TV pool monies). In any event, Premier League clubs participating in the Champions League will reap the rewards of a larger TV revenue pool. As such, qualification for the 2015-16 Champions League competition with the huge TV pool uplift will have a large revenue impact and will be of significance to qualifying Premier League clubs. The 2013-14 market pool figures for English clubs were as follows:

Club Market Pool Amount (€) 12-13 Position in the Premier League % of Market Pool
Manchester United 23,775,000 1 40
Manchester City 18,302,000 2 30
Chelsea 18,491,000 3 20
Arsenal 11,132,000 4 10
Total Market Pool 71,700,000[1]    

[1] Note that the % revenues for the market pool will not be exact as some clubs went further in the competition. i.e.. Chelsea would have been entitled to £14.34m from the market pool (20% of £71m) but because they went further than any other English team, they benefitted from an extra share of the market pool revenue.

Manchester United chief executive Edward Woodward claimed non-qualification would cost United in the region of £35m. That would appear be a conservative estimate based on additional match day revenues and prize money. From looking at last year’s distributions, the second placed finisher in the Premier League received 30% of monies from the TV pool. For example, should Liverpool qualify from the Champions League group stage, it is likely to be worth around €37m in total UEFA distributions[2]. That does not include match day and additional commercial revenues.

[1] Note that the percentage revenues for the market pool will not be exact as some clubs went further in the competition. i.e.. Chelsea would have been entitled to £14.34m from the market pool (20% of £71m) but because they went further than any other English team, they benefitted from an extra share of the market pool revenue.

[2] Calculation: Performance Prize Money €8.6m+ €3.5m (assumption of 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses) + €3.5 (for last 16) + €21.6 (30% of €72m TV pool which may vary depending on how the other clubs progress) = €37.2m

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