Record £3bn revenue for Premier League clubs - study

Tom Williams

London (AFP) - English Premier League clubs generated record combined revenues of £3.26 billion in 2013-14, according to a report published by business advisory firm Deloitte.

The figure, fuelled by the start of a new television rights cycle, represented a rise of 29 percent on the 2012-13 season and saw the English top flight surpass Germany's Bundesliga as Europe's most profitable league.

"The impact of the Premier League's broadcast deal is clear to see," Dan Jones from Deloitte's Sport Business Group said in a statement accompanying the company's 24th Annual Review of Football Finance.

"Broadcast income increased by £569 million in 2013-14, accounting for 78 percent of the overall growth in revenue in the Premier League.

"Continued growth in both commercial and match-day revenue helped Premier League clubs' combined revenues reach £3.26 billion –- a staggering increase of £735 million compared with the season before."

He added: "In 2013-14, even the Premier League club receiving the least from domestic league broadcast distributions earned more from this source than all but five other European clubs.

"Following recent announcements of commercial deals for a host of the largest clubs, we expect the Premier League to surpass the Bundesliga in commercial revenue terms and hence lead the world in all three key revenue categories from 2014-15."

Overall, combined revenues in Europe's top five leagues -- England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France -- rose by 15 percent to 11.3 billion euros.

Following England's example, the four other leagues also witnessed revenue rises -- by 15 percent in France, 13 percent in Germany, three percent in Spain and one percent in Italy.

But France's Ligue 1 clubs generated a combined operating loss of 140 million euros, a huge rise from just three million euros the previous season.

In Spain, meanwhile, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were the only clubs out of 20 whose revenues did not fall.

Despite a woeful campaign in the first season after the end of Alex Ferguson's 27-year tenure as manager, Manchester United generated an all-time record operating profit of £117 million.

That figure helped the English top flight to a record operating profit of £614 million.

Premier League clubs reduced their aggregate level of net debt by six percent to £2.4 billion, with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur contributing a combined net debt reduction of £205 million.

And the wealth of the English top flight shows no sign of diminishing, after a record-breaking £5.1 billion domestic TV rights deal for the period 2016-2019 was announced in February.

For the first time since 2006-07, each of the five leading European leagues reported wage/revenue ratios that were at or below 70 percent.

The average wage/revenue ratio across the five championships fell to 59 percent -- its lowest point since the 1999-2000 season.