As Arsenal battle their injuries as much as Udinese for a place in the UEFA Champions League group stages, it’s a good time to underscore exactly how important Champions League revenue is to football clubs.
Clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona are obvious beneficiaries – their regular presence in the knockout stages of the competition allows them to consistently pull ahead of the competition thanks to increased financial resources. However, One-time clubs like Tottenham (so far) need not fret – the windfall received from their Champions League campaign can (theoretically speaking) be used to strengthen the squad and help improve league performances on a regular basis.
A total of €754.1m (performance-related payments plus money from the TV market pool) was distributed to clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League last season, with the two finalists, FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC. A further €13.3m was distributed as solidarity payments to those clubs who were eliminated in the three qualifying rounds, while each of the 20 teams involved in the play-off matches received a fixed amount of €2.1m, irrespective of the result of their ties. Additional solidarity payments for national associations and leagues to allocate to their clubs who did not participate in the UEFA Champions League totalled €69.9m, and must be used for youth development programmes.
You can see the full list here (PDF, UEFA.com),but here are the most interesting takeaways:
- The €754.1m prize money allotted to the 32 teams who figured from the group stage onwards consisted of €413m in fixed amounts plus €341,100,000 from the market pool. Monies from the market pool were distributed according to the proportional value of the national TV market each individual team represented, among other factors, so the amounts given varied from country (or national association) to country.
- Each team gets a basic fee – 3.9m – for qualifying for the Champions League group stages. In addition, each teams gets a fixed fee per match regardless of the outcome, this fee is revised upwards as the teams enter the knockout competitions.
- All the clubs are entitled to a minimum €7.2m – a basic participation bonus of €3.9m, plus €3.3m from the six €550,000 match bonuses given per group game.
- Additionally, performance bonuses are paid in the group stage: sides receive €800,000 for every win and €400,000 for every draw. The 16 clubs that reached the round of 16 are each assigned an additional €3m, the eight quarter-finalists an extra €3.3m, and the four semi-finalists – including Real Madrid and Schalke – a bonus of €4.2m. The losing finalist receives 5.6m while the winner receives 9m.
- Manchester United (53.197m) and Barcelona (51.025m) were the highest earners, with Chelsea (44.523m),FC Schalke (39.75m),Real Madrid (39.288m) and Inter Milan (37.982m) forming the second-highest earning group. Given that neither Chelsea nor Inter were in the in semi-finals last season, it serves to highlight the strength of the TV market pool.
- Chelsea earned 27.023m in revenues from the TV market pool – more than Manchester United (25.897m),Inter Milan (21.662m) or Barcelona (20.325m). Real Madrid were at a (comparatively) paltry 17.188m. Even Schalke and Bayern earned more than Madrid.
- The two other English teams were in the third band of earners, with Tottenham (31.133m) edging out Arsenal (29.983m). Bayern Munich, with a higher TV income than even Real Madrid despite going out two rounds earlier, earned 32.562m overall.
- The financial windfall created by the TV market pool is such that earnings for teams that don’t progress beyond the group stages can be vastly different. Compare the fortunes of Ajax (12.328m) against CFR 1907 Cluj (18.412m),Bursaspor (20.048m) v MSK Zilina (7.412m),Rangers (18.526m) v Benfica (11.834m) and Panathinaikos (22.37m) v FK Partizan (8.51m). None of these teams qualified beyond the group stages, and the key difference is the TV money.
- Bursaspor (20.048m) and Panathinaikos (22.37m),both finishing bottom in their groups, earned similar sums to Shakhtar Donetsk (21.288m),who topped their group and progressed to the quarter finals.
How much would Manchester City stand to earn from their first Champions League campaign? Assuming that they qualify for the knockout stages, at least 25m, going upwards of 30m if they get to the quarter finals or further.
How much revenues have Liverpool missed out on after not qualifying for the Champions League for two straight seasons? Allowing for a Chelsea-like earning potential, between 75m to 90m. With a number like that in front of them, it’s no wonder that Liverpool’s new owners have invested heavily in the squad to both build a long-term foundation as well as to capitalise on Arsenal’s and Tottenham’s current weaknesses to secure a return to Champions League football immediately.
If Arsenal do not hold their nerve against Udinese next week, they will lose out on nearly 30m of revenues this year. Add that to the potential of losing their Champions League spot, and the need to invest has rarely been greater for Arsenal in recent memory.
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