John McCormick writes: back in January various sources ran the news that all of 2013-14’s Premiership clubs were in the world’s top 40 in terms of revenue. While Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff won’t stay there for 2016 I expect Burnley, QPR and Leicester to replace them. Looking ahead to 2017, Burnley, Hull and QPR should drop out with Norwich reappearing, along with Watford and Bournemouth; that’s the power of the Premier …
I can’t go into more detail, I don’t have the information. I presume it will be found in Deloitte’s “Annual review of football finance”, which costs £1000 for businesses, or just £100 to those who can get a discounted copy. I can’t get one, and even if I could I wouldn’t pay £100.
Instead, I download a copy of Deloitte’s Money Football League. This is much shorter, focusing on the top 20 revenue-generating clubs in the world, and I think it’s as much as a publicity mechanism as anything. It comes out in January or February each year, after Deloitte collates information about the previous season, and by the summer it’s easy to forget it’s effectively a season out of date.
You need to bear this in mind as last year it was late July when I got round to commenting on our position (https://safc.blog/2014/07/are-we-in-the-mix-for-the-money-football-league/).
As I said at the time, it didn’t matter that I was late. We weren’t mentioned. We had been the previous year and even the year before that but in January 2014, most likely as a consequence of poor league performance in 2012-13, we had dropped back out of the list.
I’m late again this season, for pretty much the same reasons. A battle with relegation, managerial changes, wins against the Mags, they all concentrate the mind and assume priority. Now that’s all over, we’ve survived, and apart from the odd international game there’s a dearth of football, I can pick up where I left off in January, when I began looking at how far we had moved.
In 2012-13 we finished the season in 17th place on 39 points, three above relegated Wigan. In 2013-14 we finished on 38 points but not only did we survive as a Premier League club we ended up in 14th place. On the back of an improved TV rights deal that was worth £71,700,890. Add in a trip to Wembley and the result was an increase of some £28 million in revenue over the previous year. Enough, I reckoned, to get us back into Deloitte’s top 30.
This year we’re back in the Deloitte report, at number 27, our highest place for some time. Not as high as I’d like, but at least it’s a positive step.
The report isn’t the Money League itself, of course. Deloitte reserve that for the top 20 clubs. There are high placed English clubs in the top 20, these being the Champions League four plus Liverpool and Spurs, and as even Spurs generate almost twice as much as we do we can’t get close to them.
However, there are other English clubs which dip in and out of the League, or at least challenge for places in it. These usually include Everton, NUFC, West Ham and Villa but, as you can see above, Fulham have been there in the past.
The gap between these clubs and us is small and can usually be explained by league position and the effect it has on TV facility and merit payments. These aren’t the whole story as clubs do generate money through other streams but a Premier-wide rise in payments explains why these clubs all rose through the Money League ranks. Everton and NUFC now occupy Money League slots, in 19th and 20th place, while West Ham and Villa sit just outside in 21st and 22nd positions respectively. Between them and us are Olympique Marseille, AS Roma, Southampton and Benfica.
To illustrate the importance of the Premier’s TV deal let’s look at West Ham. In 2013 they didn’t feature in Deloitte’s report, in 2014 they were in 29th place with €105 million and this year they are knocking on the door of the Money League with revenues of €135 million.
Or we could look at Southampton. They didn’t appear before the 2014 report – at least not in recent years. Yet here they are at number 25. That is to say, they are the 25th biggest football club in the world in terms of revenue generation. Their stadium has a capacity of 32,500 so they don’t have the biggest crowds, by any means, but in the 2013-14 season they finished two places above us in the Premier and two places above us in the Deloitte list, some 2 million euros better than us. Not a bad achievement from the Saints, you have to say.
Next year we can expect Southampton to widen this gap as we dropped a couple of places while they went upwards and that’s a lot of money. We might also be caught by Swansea and Stoke, another two newcomers to Deloitte. This year they finished 6-7 million euros below us, in 29th and 30th places. In Premier League terms, they left us for dead. Could they surpass us in Deloitte’s 2016? Easily, as could a few other clubs who have finished in higher spots than our 16th place.
But maybe, just maybe, we’ll finish above Aston Villa, after clambering over them at the end of last season. And even if we don’t we’ve survived in the Premier, and that’s what brings in the money.