Clubs from the top four tiers of English football generated more than £4bn in revenue for the first time in 2014-15, an annual review conducted by Deloitte has found.
Analysts with Deloitte discovered that the 92 teams combined for the astronomical figure, with the 20 clubs from the Premier League accounting for £3.3bn of the overall figure - a number that will only rise when the new broadcast deal kicks in next season.
Deloitte’s annual review of football finance also found that the top five European leagues - in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France - combined for a record £9.2bn and that the Premier League generated more than £1.5bn more than the Bundesliga, which was the next highest-earning league.
Much of that has to do with the fact the broadcast deal is more evenly distributed between the clubs across the division - a fact that has allowed mid-tier Premier League clubs to close the gap on the established order in recent campaigns.
“It’s the most equitable distribution across those leading leagues,” Adam Bull, a senior consultant in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, explained.
“Because of the size of the deal, and the fact it’s distributed more equitably than the others, that’s why on any given Saturday any of the sides can beat another.
“It’s that which makes is so exciting and then this season, with Leicester managing to do it across a whole season, it just shows how competitive the league is and that’s why it’s so interesting and drives the audience and then drives the values; it’s quite a virtuous circle.”
Leicester’s fairytale run to the title may spark a slight increase in next year’s results, but it is for the 2016-17 season when Bull expects the next significant developments.
Next term the 20 Premier League clubs will benefit from a new three-year broadcast rights deal that will see each televised match garner £10.2m in broadcast domestic revenue.
“The deal that starts next season. That’s where there will be another big step change in the amount of broadcast revenue,” Bull added.
“Overall, we think for the 2016-17 season, we’ll be looking at about £4.3bn as opposed to the £3.3bn as we report in this publication.”
Even without the current broadcast deal, only the Bundesliga generates more revenue across Europe than the Premier League, whose clubs raked in £88m in commercial deals, a 10 per cent growth from the previous survey.
And while heavyweights such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool will miss out on the riches that comes with Champions League football next season, their global reach still makes them hugely appealing commercially.
“A lot of the deals that they do are tied in for three or four years,” Bull explained.
“Although there might be clauses in the contracts that means they will miss out because they haven’t qualified for European football, it’s unlikely that those partners will cease the deal and go elsewhere. Clubs like United and Chelsea, you would expect to be back (in Europe).”