Pre-Corona figures: sales records in football

Hamburg (dpa) – The figures from the latest “Annual Review of Football Finance” sound like from another time.

The records that the accounting firm Deloitte presented in the 29th edition of their study on European football come from the not so distant pre-Corona era of the 2018/19 season.

In total, 28.9 billion euros were generated in Europe’s football in the previous season – more than ever before. The revenue of the Bundesliga grew thanks to the annual increase in revenues from media rights by six percent to 3.3 billion euros – without including transfer sums. In its economic report published in February, the German Football League reported a turnover record of 4.02 billion euros for the Bundesliga.

Despite the increase, Germany’s elite class in the Deloitte ranking of the top five leagues in Europe slipped behind the Spanish La Liga (3.4 billion euros). The English Premier League is still top of the list with 5.9 billion euros. The Italian Serie A comes to about 2.5 billion euros, the French Ligue 1 to 1.9 billion euros.

But Deloitte believes that the phase of financial records and limitless growth in European football is over – for the time being – due to the corona consequences. Football, both in the professional and amateur sectors, faces immense and sometimes existential challenges, the company wrote.

After two months, the Bundesliga resumed operations, the Spanish La Liga, the English Premier League and Serie A are daring to restart. Ligue 1 broke off its season, the EM was postponed by a year. How the Champions League and Europa League will continue this season is still open.

The fans will play a particularly important role in future development, “because they are ultimately the backbone of economic success,” believes Stefan Ludwig, partner and head of the Sport Business Group at Deloitte. “Their enthusiasm in particular makes top football an attractive product for media and business partners from all over the world.” This becomes particularly clear in the phase of ghost games.

Ludwig therefore asked top football to innovate in the digital field. “Even if the longing is great, it will probably still take some time before we can return to our usual football routine,” he said. “The leagues and clubs should now seize the opportunity to focus more on digital exchange with the fans.” This not only consoles domestic fans beyond ghost games, “but also creates opportunities to open up international markets”.

Deloitte sees a promising perspective for women’s football. The 2019 World Cup in France had acted as a catalyst for the already growing interest, it said. The economic and commercial opportunities have not yet been exhausted. The TV broadcasts of the restart of the women’s Bundesliga in May in 16 countries worldwide (Central America, Scandinavia, Great Britain) would underline this potential.

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