Following the government announcement that plans to allow fans to attend football matches from 1st October would not go ahead, I thought it might be interesting to see how this could impact the revenue of Premier League clubs this season via match day losses due to COVID-19.
First of all, a reminder of how much match day income each Premier League club generated in 2018/19 (the season with the most recent published accounts), including estimates for clubs that have been promoted from the Championship since then.
In 2018/19 Premier League clubs had around £700m of match day revenue with #MUFC leading the way with £111m, followed by #AFC £96m, #LFC £84m, #THFC £82m, #CFC £676m and #MCFC £55m. At the other end of the spectrum, clubs like Burnley, #WBA and #SUFC had less than £10m.
Even though #AFC revenue was not the largest in the Premier League, it was by far the highest as a percentage of total revenue at 25%, much more than #THFC and #MUFC, both 18%. In fact, Arsenal are more reliant on this revenue stream than any other leading European club.
Based on the number of matches played in 2018/19, we can calculate the average revenue per match, ranging from #MUFC £4.3m to Burnley £0.3m. This is a little simplistic as clubs earn more from, say, a Premier League match than an EFL cup-tie, but it’s good enough for an estimate.
If we assume that all matches are played behind closed doors until the end of the year, I estimate that Premier League clubs would lose a total of £288m. The largest losses would be #MUFC £47m, #THFC £36m, #LFC £36m, #AFC £35m, #CFC £25m and #MCFC £24m.
This estimate is based on 8 Premier League home games plus the guaranteed home ties in the EFL Cup and Europe (group stage completed this year). I have further assumed that #THFC qualify for the Europa League group stage.
There has been some talk that fans would not be allowed back into stadiums until end-March next year. In that case, the total Premier League loss would increase to £451m. By club, the largest losses would be #MUFC £72m, #LFC £55m, #AFC £55m, #THFC £54m, #CFC £37m and #MCFC £35m.
This is the minimum that would be lost, as this estimate only includes guaranteed cup games. If clubs progressed further, then they would lose even more gate receipts, though would be compensated by additional prize money (especially in the Champions League).
If all matches in the 2020/21 season were to be played behind closed doors, the total Premier League loss would rise to £586m. Largest losses at #MUFC £94m, #LFC £71m, #AFC £71m, #THFC £69m, #CFC £48m and #MCFC £45m, though would be higher with progress in cup competitions.
So the timing of the return of fans is obviously hugely important for Premier League clubs. If we take #MUFC as an example, they would lose £47m if games are played behind closed doors until end year; £72m end-March; £94m whole season; £111m with progress in the cups.
These match day losses are in addition to those already incurred by clubs in the 2019/20 season. Using a similar model, I estimate this was worth £141m. Highest losses #MUFC £30m, #MCFC £16m, #THFC £15m, #LFC £13m and #AFC £13m.
Taking a full season’s match day income for 2020/21, assuming similar cup progress to 2018/19, the combined losses over the two seasons would be £837m. Highest at #MUFC £141m, #AFC £109m, #LFC £97m, #THFC £97m, #CFC £75m and #MCFC £71m.
This analysis is based on some simple assumptions, so some clubs could easily lose a different amount. For example, #THFC only moved into their new stadium for the last 5 games of the 2018/19 season, so their match day revenue (and consequent loss) will certainly be higher now.
In addition, clubs earn a fair amount from merchandising sales on match day, which would be reflected in commercial income, so there will be additional losses in that revenue stream, particularly at the elite clubs.
It is also possible that TV companies will push for rebates, as their “product” is devalued by the adverse impact from no spectators on the match day experience for armchair fans. This could be offset by televising more games, but this did not prevent a £330m rebate in 2019/20.
All that said, Premier League clubs still generate a huge amount of income even without match day revenue. As an example, if 100% of match day were lost in 2018/19, six clubs would still have earned more than £300m with #MUFC leading the way with £516m, down from £627m total.
Even though broadcasting income is still the most important revenue stream for Premier League clubs, followed by commercial, it is clear that match day money will be sorely missed. Maybe those fans who have been messed around so much by changing schedules are valuable after all?

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More from @SwissRamble

Sep 26
Manchester United’s 2021/22 accounts cover a season when they finished 6th in the Premier League and were eliminated in the last 16 of the Champions League. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was replaced by Ralf Rangnick, since succeeded by Erik ten Hag. Some thoughts follow #MUFC
#MUFC pre-tax loss shot up from £24m to £150m, despite revenue rising £89m (18%) from £494m to £583m, thanks to recovery from COVID and return of fans to the stadium, plus profit on player sales increasing £15m to £22m, as expenses rose £154m (29%) after investment in the squad.
#MUFC operational decline was exacerbated by the impact of the weakening of Sterling on non-cash finance costs, as unrealised forex losses on unhedged USD borrowings meant that net interest experienced an adverse swing of £75m from £13m recoverable prior year to £62m payable.
Read 47 tweets
Sep 21
The Premier League has published details of the TV payments to clubs for the 2021/22 season. These amounted to £2.5 bln, ranging from £153m for champions #MCFC to £101m for 20th placed #NCFC (the first time the bottom club got more than £100m).
The largest increases compared to the previous season came at #BHAFC, up £16m, and #AFC, up £11m. In contrast, three clubs received over £10m less than 2020/21: #LUFC £17m, #EFC £13m and #LCFC £11m.
Each of the 20 Premier League clubs received £87.5m as an equal share, coming from domestic rights £31.8m, overseas rights £48.9m and commercial revenue £6.8m.
Read 9 tweets
Sep 12
In advance of football clubs starting to publish their accounts for the 2021/22 season, I thought it might be helpful to share some 2-page financial overviews for each of the Premier League clubs for 2020/21, including a comparison against prior year and a 5-year graphical trend.
These overviews also include Premier League rankings for each of the main financial categories, e.g. which club had the highest profit, loss, revenue, wages, debt, transfer spend, etc in 2020/21.
One caveat with these figures is that revenue was significantly impacted by COVID in 2020/21 with match day reduced to almost zero, as games were played behind closed doors, while some broadcasting income was deferred from 2019/20 for matches played after the accounting close.
Read 24 tweets
Aug 31
As we near the end of the transfer window, some fans ask why their club has not splashed more cash on bringing in new players, despite generating significant revenue. This thread will look at where the money goes by analysing the last 5 years for the Big Six Premier League clubs.
This analysis will look at the source and use of funds for the 5 years up to 2021 (most recently published accounts). We will remove pure accounting entries, such as player amortisation and profit on player sales, but incorporate all cash movements to give a “real world” view.
The Big Six Premier League clubs had £17.6 bln available funds, ranging from £3.2 bln for #MCFC & #MUFC to £2.5 bln for #AFC. Main driver is obviously £13.6 bln revenue with 57% (£7.8bln) going on wages. Net transfer spend is £2.3 bln: purchases £4.3 bln less £2.0 bln sales.
Read 34 tweets
Aug 29
Following Bayern Munich’s imperious start to the season, on the back of 10 Bundesliga titles in a row, I thought it might be interesting to look at their finances, even though it’s been a while since they published their 2020/21 accounts #FCBayern
Despite the significant impact of COVID, #FCBayern “achieved sound financial results”, once again posting a pre-tax profit, though down from €17m to €5m (€2m after tax). Revenue (club definition) fell €54m (8%) from €698m to €644m, largely offset by €42m cut in expenses.
#FCBayern revenue hit by COVID driven reductions in match day, down €59m (83%) to €12m, and commercial, down €15m (4%) to €345m, while transfer income dropped €31m to €33m. Broadcasting rose €51m (25%) to €255m, mainly due to money deferred from extended 2019/20 season.
Read 42 tweets
Aug 23
Following last night’s match between Manchester United and Liverpool, I thought it might be interesting to see how the finances of these clubs compare, particularly the direction of travel over the last 10 years (up to most recent accounts for the 2020/21 season) #MUFC #LFC
10 years ago #MUFC £320m revenue was nearly twice as much as #LFC £169m with the difference rising to a peak of £217m in 2017, but since then the gap has almost completely closed to only £7m with United’s £494m just ahead of #LFC £487m.
#LFC have earned more broadcasting income than #MUFC in each of the last four years, due to more success on the pitch, especially in Europe, where Liverpool’s exploits in the Champion League have generated much more TV money.
Read 19 tweets

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