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Broadcast revenue drives turnover growth in European football

Broadcast revenue was the main driver of growth in turnover across the five biggest domestic football leagues in Europe in the 2010-11 season, according to the latest report on football finance by financial services company Deloitte.

Broadcast revenue across the five countries – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – was worth a combined €2.84 billion ($3.7 billion), up three per cent from €2.75 billion in 2009-10. France’s Ligue 1 was the only major league not to experience any year-on-year growth for its broadcast revenues. Sponsorship was the next biggest revenue stream at €2.24 billion across the five markets, up four per cent from €2.15 billion in 2009-10.

The English Premier League generated the highest turnover, with €2.5 billion, which was significantly more than its nearest rival the German Bundesliga at €1.75 billion. Spanish clubs had a collective turnover of €1.72 billion, the Italian league clubs €1.55 billion and the French league €1.04 billion.

The Premier League had by far the biggest broadcast revenues, at €1.3 billion, up by two per cent from the €1.27 billion it earned in 2009-10. Broadcast revenues accounted for 52 per cent of its overall revenues.

In Italy, broadcasting accounted for €938 million, or 60 per cent of the league’s total revenue. The amount was up €23 million year-on-year due to the new Serie A collective broadcast agreements.

The Spanish Liga broadcasting revenues were worth a combined €772 million, up six per cent year-on-year from €725 million in 2009-10. This represented the greatest percentage increase in broadcasting revenues across all five markets. Spanish clubs negotiate their own broadcasting rights contracts unlike in the other four markets, with Real Madrid and Barcelona earning significantly more than the other clubs. Deloitte noted that in spite of the focus on the uneven distribution of broadcasting rights fees it is the revenue source where Spain’s top two clubs enjoy least economic dominance over their domestic competitors.

The French Ligue 1 broadcast revenues remained stable year-on-year at €607 million, accounting for 58 per cent of the league’s total revenues. It was the only ‘big five’ league to experience a decline in total revenues in 2010-11 due to French clubs’ poor performance in the Uefa Champions League. Ligue 1 is closer to being overtaken by the Russian Premier League in sixth place than it is to catching Italy’s Serie A.

The Bundesliga is underpinned by the strength of the German commercial market, with sponsorship and other commercial revenues contributing 47 per cent of the total. Broadcast revenues were worth €519 million, up three per cent from the €506 million it earned in 2009-10. Broadcast revenues account for only 30 per cent of the Bundesliga’s total revenues.