European leagues register record €21 billion revenue: UEFA Report

Europe’s 55 leagues have aggregated a record € 21 billion revenue in the 2018 financial year with a significant 20% increase from…

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Europe’s 55 leagues have aggregated a record € 21 billion revenue in the 2018 financial year with a significant 20% increase from the year before.  However, there is so much disparity in earnings that the 30 top-flight clubs in European football leagues are taking home close to 50% of the revenue share with the other 682 sharing the rest.

The annual UEFA report Club Footballing Landscape has presented a panoramic picture of European football, also for the first time including the women’s football.

The report focuses on how the stable European football ecosystem, aided by sensible regulation, has helped club football to 20 consecutive years of revenue growth. In fact, top division European club revenues increased in total from €20bn to €21bn in 2018, states the report.

The report has further revealed extreme disparities in revenue of the European football clubs.

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The report highlights that the Premier League alone generates more revenues that the combined earnings of the 50 countries at the deck of the revenue table. England’s 20 top-tier clubs reported more revenue in 2018 than all 617 clubs in the bottom 50 countries.

English clubs occupy 17 of the top 20 places in the broadcast revenue table. Moreover, for the second consecutive year, an English club has topped the list outright. In the past, one of Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona or Juventus would always receive more domestic TV revenue. While those three clubs remain in the top 20, the top five are all English clubs.

Ø Top-division clubs reported total combined revenues of €21bn in FY2018, up 5% on FY2017

Ø The top 30 clubs achieved combined revenues of more than €10bn, accounting for 49% of the revenues of all top-division clubs

Ø 40% of overall revenue growth in FY2018 that came from domestic TV

Ø Over 8% Increase in revenue from gate receipts in FY2018, the highest in ten years


Operating costs of the clubs have varies across countries, absorbing between 23% and 88% of the revenues. Clubs in Libiya are spen

Ø Operating costs absorbed 33% of clubs’ revenue – up fromm the all-time low of 32% recorded in FY2017

Ø The top 20 clubs’ operating costs increased by 11% in FY2018, driven by high commercial development costs

Ø Non-operating costs rose by 20% in FY2018, driven by increases in financial and FX expenses


This year’s operating profits continued the general improvement seen in clubs’ underlying profitability since the introduction of financial fair play, with a fifth consecutive year of significant operating profits for European club football. However, the aggregate operating profit of €697m across all top-division clubs was less than half of FY2017’s record figure of FY2017 €1,410m record*, and the lowest in four years, with growth in costs surpassing growth in revenue for the first time in five years.

Ø Aggregate operating profits of Europe’s top-division clubs in FY2018 recorded at €697m, down from €1.4bn a year ago

Ø English clubs profits of €382m drives Top 20 leagues profits in 2018, but significant differences remain

Ø Two Champions League finalists recorded two of the three highest profits in history in FY2018

Bottom-line profits were reported by 55% of clubs in the top 20 leagues in FY2018, down from 61% in FY2017. A record 18 Spanish top-tier clubs reported net profits in FY2018, as did 12 English clubs (down from 18 in FY2017). This comes as an achievement a few years after a financial control mechanism has been implemented by La Liga. Germany and the Netherlands also appear to be among the best in class, due to an efficient cost control at clubs.


Among the European Club football sponsors, retail remains the most widely industry with 17% representation, up 1% from the corresponding period a year ago. Gambling (13%), financial services (10%), professional services (9%), industrial goods (7%), airlines and automotive goods (7%), tourism and energy (6% each); followed by construction and real estate (5%) and telecommunication (4%) are the other major sponsors in European club football.

However, contribution from the financial service sector, industrial goods brands and tourism has declined 3%, 2% and 1% respectively.

Ø Retail is the most-featured industry (17%) of principal sponsors across Europe

Ø  53  different kit manufacturers across Europe’s top divisions in 2019/20

Ø Two-third of Europe’s top-division leagues that have a title sponsor

Ø 15% of stadiums with sponsor naming rights attached

Market share of top five kit manufacturers stands at 64%, up 4%. Among the 53 kit suppliers, down from 62 in 2017-18, Nike enjoyed the highest 18% market share. The US athleisure and sports brand is the kit sponsor of  48 clubs, followed by adidas (43), Joma and Macron (31 each), Puma (25), Jako (19), Umbro (17), Hummel (16) and Errea and Kappa (11 each).

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English clubs yet again have dominated the player transfer market with seven Premier League teams featuring in the top 20 by net transfer costs. European clubs collectively have posted record € 5 billion alone in income from player transfers.

The rise of European club transfer values has resulted in net transfer incomes rising from €2.0bn in FY2013 and FY2014 to €5.0bn in FY2018. Every transfer has two sides, but transfer costs have increased more gradually than income, as costs are spread out over the duration of the player’s contract. The net impact on clubs’ profits and losses has been significant: whereas transfer activity resulted in net costs equivalent to 4.9% of revenue in FY2014, a net income equivalent to 2.1% of revenue was reported in FY2018.

Ø Clubs posted a record € 5 bn in transfer income in FY2018

Ø 85% of gross transfer spending and 75% of related earnings was recorded in Europe’s big 5 leagues

Ø Manchester City FC posted a €282m in net transfer spend, the highest ever recorded.

Ø Big 5 countries’ share of transfer spend (85%) and earnings (75%)

Ø A record transfer spend € 1bn paid to agents

Manchester City FC posted the highest net transfer spending ever recorded (€282 million), while Paris Saint-Germain FC and Manchester United FC also broke the previous record set by Real Madrid CF in FY2009 (€221 million). With transfer prices doubling between summer 2014 and 2017 and increasing again in 2019, six of the ten highest transfer spends in history took  place in 2018. The cost of those 2018 acquisitions will be felt in future years as they are spread out over the players’ contract length. The top 20 clubs reported net transfer costs of €973 million but operated an underlying net transfer spend of €1,407 million.


Ø 5:1 differential between total social media followers of Premier League and La Liga and all other leagues combined

Ø Clubs generated more than 8 billion social media interactions from their 1.4 billion followers in the 2018/19 season

Ø 2% Increase in European top-division attendances in 2018/19 relative to the previous season

Once again, the top 15 clubs had aggregate attendances of more than 1 million.

“As financial performance has improved, clubs’ financial position has become significantly healthier, with net assets increasing from less than €2bn to more than €9bn in the space of a decade, a testament to the success of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, the stable European football ecosystem and sustained and sensible investment,” says UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.

CLICK HERE to read the full report.

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