The English Premier League’s revenues are expected to exceed £6 billion this season for the first time, rapidly outpacing its European rivals.
Premier League clubs earned £4.9 billion in the 2020/21 season, according to Deloitte’s latest annual review of football finance, despite an almost complete loss of matchday revenue due to Covid-19.
This was an 8% rise on a year earlier, while Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga both suffered a 6% drop in revenues.
Deloitte expects the English top flight to have made £5.5 billion in 2021/22 and to top £6 billion in the current season, which kicked off at the start of August.
The English game continues to ride a wave of popularity around the world and has benefited from a significant uplift in its international broadcast rights.
In 2020/21 the ‘big five’ European leagues generated €15.6 billion in aggregate revenue, up 3% relative to the prior season, but significantly below revenues observed prior to COVID-19 (€17.0 billion in 2018/19).
While the Premier League was the only one of the big five European leagues to boast an improvement in total operating profits, which increased sharply from £49 million to £479 million, pre-tax losses remained significant, albeit down from £991 million to £669 million.
Net debts of Premier league clubs rose by 4% to £4.1 billion.
“As the Premier League enters its fourth decade, it’s further ahead of the competition than ever before, having emerged from the pandemic without a significant increase in net debt as many might have expected,” said Tim Bridge, lead partner in the sports business group at Deloitte.
Elsewhere, Deloitte said there’s been a boom in investment across Europe’s big five leagues, with more than two-thirds made by American investors. More than 70 multi-club ownership groups now exist, compared with only 28 five years ago, according to the report.
While the Premier League enjoyed a boost in broadcast income overseas, Italy’s Serie A suffered a “significant decline” in the value of its international rights as it was unable to secure a renewed contract with beIN and matches were streamed instead on YouTube, Deloitte said.
Meanwhile, the Bundesliga signed a deal for its domestic broadcast rights that was 5% lower than during the previous cycle.