Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth

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Chelsea celebrate with the Premier League trophy in May. The champions received £151m in TV revenue for last season but even bottom-placed Sunderland earned £93m. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/AMA/Getty Images

Premier League Premier League remains world’s richest courtesy of huge TV revenue growth • Total earnings of 20 top-flight clubs in 2016-17 expected to exceed £4.5bn
• Premier League earned almost €2bn more than any other European league

The Premier League is set to remain by far the world’s richest football league, its clubs earning approximately €2bn (£1.7bn) more collectively than those in Europe’s second richest, the German Bundesliga, according to the annual review of football finances by the consultants Deloitte.

The total £3.6bn earnings of Premier League clubs in 2015-16, as reported by the Guardian’s own review of the clubs’ most recently published accounts are projected to have increased to £4.5bn last season, the first of the league’s vastly more lucrative 2016-19 TV deals.

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The size of domestic and international TV rights sales, £2.8bn per season, £8.4bn in total over three years, is approximately double that of the Bundesliga’s own improved deals, which are expected to pay around €1.4bn annually to the clubs in Germany’s top two divisions. Although England’s clubs will not publish their 2016-17 accounts for several months yet, the Premier League has already disclosed its distribution of TV and sponsorship money last season, which Deloitte calculates was 45% higher than in 2015-16.

The size of that increase, and the gaping financial superiority over the other leagues, is reflected in Premier League clubs’ transfer activity so far this summer, accounting for the majority of the biggest money signings and the continuing attraction of players and managers from other European leagues.

Chelsea, last season’s champions, were paid £151m from the Premier League’s TV and sponsorship distribution; Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United all earned more than £140m, while Sunderland, who finished bottom, nevertheless received £93m. Those earnings, by far a record for any domestic league’s TV deals, included the clubs’ share of £782m the Premier League secured per season from sales of TV rights overseas, which is distributed equally, £39.09m to each of the 20 clubs.

The gap between Premier League clubs’ earnings and those in Europe’s next wealthiest leagues would be even greater were it not for the fall in the value of the pound against the euro following the British vote to leave the European Union last June. Deloitte projects England’s top 20 clubs will make €5.1bn in the forthcoming 2017-18 season, Bundesliga clubs €3.2bn, Spanish La Liga clubs €3bn, with less than €2bn forecast to be earned by the clubs in each of the French and Italian top divisions.

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The gap created by the Premier League is widening in England too, its £2.4bn annual TV deal is almost 30 times greater than that of the EFL, which is reported to be currently £90m across all three divisions. Deloitte’s review of Championship clubs’ financial accounts in 2015-16 shows that clubs paid more in wages than all the income they earned, and sustained heavy losses, mostly funded with £761m loans from owners, as they chase the jackpot of promotion. The 24 Championship clubs made £556m in total, over half of which came from parachute payments for relegated clubs, but paid £561m in wages, and had record total operating losses of £261m. vast bonanza to clubs promoted for the first time across English football’s great financial divide, with Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion set to receive a minimum £170m increase over the next three years, even if they are relegated after only one year.

The Premier League has said that it currently distributes approximately £100m to the 72 Football League clubs, principally in the Championship, as “solidarity” payments, and further funds for player pensions and youth development.

In May, the Premier League said it also spends a further £100m on grass roots facilities and projects via the Football Foundation and club community programmes, which is approximately 3.6% of the Premier League’s annual TV income.

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