Premier League's record revenue - but will fans feel any benefit?

Premier League clubs’ revenue reached a record £2.4bn in 2011/12, according to football finance experts Deloitte. In total the revenue of the top 92 clubs in English football exceeded £3 billion for the first time. But will fans benefit?

Deloitte’s figures show clubs are more likely to put money into the pockets of players and agents, than invest in infrastructure or respond to fans’ demands to drop ticket prices. Almost 75% of the Premier League clubs’ revenue increase in 2011/12 was spent on wages.

The Football Supporters’ Federation said: “Deloitte’s figures show that football has, quite rightly, invested hugely in stadiums and training facilities in the past two decades.

“But in more recent times the game has thrown mind-blowing amounts of money at players and agents – £3 out of every £4 raised by clubs in new money is  spent on the never-ending arms race to pay players more money.

“We believe it’s about time fans felt some benefit of those increased revenues in the form of lower ticket prices. The Premier League’s media and sponsorship deals are set to soar past £5bn during 2013-16.

“The increase in the domestic TV deal is worth £1.2bn – that alone is enough to knock £32 off very single ticket at every single game. There’s no excuse for clubs to keep pushing up prices. It’s time clubs listened to fans and made football more affordable.”

  • Sign the FSF's Twenty's Plenty for Away Tickets petition here.

Deloitte said that despite the aggregate operating profit of Premier League clubs improving to £98m in 2011/12, half of the league’s clubs still made a loss.

Alan Switzer, Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said that the Premier League’s new system of enhanced financial regulations was designed to improve the sustainability of its clubs.

“The successful implementation of these rules, coupled with the imminent boost to broadcast revenues, could provide huge benefits to the long-term development, growth and stability of the game and its clubs,” said Switzer.

Revenue in the Football League Championship increased by £53m (13%) to £476m in 2011/12. This was driven in part by the number of clubs being in receipt of parachute payments from the Premier League and the change in the mix of clubs.

Paul Rawnsley, Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Whilst Championship clubs’ revenues have held up well, their wages to revenue ratio has hovered threateningly at around 90% for the last four seasons, with operating losses once again reaching record levels in 2011/12.

“The Football League’s Financial Fair Play Rules look to be a necessary step to help change clubs’ behaviour in respect of spending on players. The application of sanctions in respect of the clubs’ results for the 2013/14 season should focus the minds of clubs who have been making heavy losses.”

Other key findings of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2013 include:

  • The total European football market grew to a record £15.7 billion (€19.4 billion) in 2011/12;
  • Premier League clubs generated the highest revenue (£2.4 billion) of any league in Europe in 2011/12, followed by Germany (£1.5 billion), Spain (£1.4 billion), Italy (£1.3 billion), and France (£0.9 billion);
  • The Bundesliga remained Europe’s most profitable league with operating profits of £154m, followed by the Premier League, with operating profits of £98m;
  • The top 92 English clubs invested £188m in stadia and facilities in 2011/12, exceeding £150m annual spend for the fifteenth successive year. In the 20 seasons to 2011/12, English professional football clubs have made in excess of £3.3 billion in capital investments, with 29 club stadia built over this period;
  • Average league capacity utilisation at Premier League clubs of 95% in 2012/13 was the highest level recorded in Premier League history and the 16th consecutive season above 90%;
  • Net debt in respect of Premier League clubs was £2.4 billion, consistent with 2011;
  • The Government’s tax take from the top 92 professional football clubs was around £1.3 billion in 2011/12;
  • Of the £2.4 billion net debt in the Premier League, 59% (£1.4 billion) is in the form of non-interest bearing ‘soft loans’ of which around 90% related to three clubs - Chelsea (£895m), Newcastle United (£267m) and Queens Park Rangers (£93m);
  • On the positive side of the balance sheet, Premier League clubs recorded a carrying value of tangible fixed assets of almost £1.9 billion. This reflects the huge investment in facilities seen over the past two decades, and, in addition, a carrying value of player registrations of around £1.1 billion.