UK television market strength sees City top Champions League revenue payments

English Premier League football club Manchester City earned €83.8m ($92.18m) in Champions League prize money last season to top the table of payments from European football’s governing body Uefa, thanks to the strength of its national television market.

City lost to eventual winner Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the 2015-16 Champions League, but its share of the lucrative UK television rights moved it above the Spanish LaLiga club’s €80m share of the €1.345bn total prize fund.

Italian Serie A club Juventus finished third with €76.2m, boosted by the largest broadcast rights share of €52.932m despite exiting the tournament at the Round of 16 stage. French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, which was defeated by City in the quarter finals, finished fourth in the rankings with €70.8m, €40.371m of which came from the television market pool.

Italian television rights paid out €112m among three clubs, while the Spanish rights paid out only €90m split between five clubs. City’s television payment was almost €47m, from UK rights which shared more than €140m among four clubs. By contrast, in Kazakhstan, where FC Astana took part in the group stage, the rights were worth less than €1.3m.

Real gained an extra €15m for winning the final, while city rival Atletico de Madrid secured a one-off payment of €10.5m out of a total of €69.665m for losing to its arch rival. The 32 clubs that took part in the 2015-16 Champions League group stage and the 10 that were knocked out in the play-offs shared more than €1.345bn in payments from Uefa, over €315m more than the previous season.

The payments represented the first in a fresh three-year cycle of Champions League broadcast and sponsorship deals covering the 2015-16 to 2017-18 seasons. Uefa is predicting a 30 per cent revenue rise for the three seasons spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21, which is when the controversial Champions League reforms are set to take hold.

Under the changes, the top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the Champions League. The automatic qualification would benefit the top four leagues in the Uefa coefficient ranking, currently LaLiga, the German Bundesliga, Premier League and Serie A.

However, a new four-pillar financial distribution system – starting fee, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market pool – will see sporting performances better rewarded, while market pool share will decrease.