Champions League income triples over past 10 years

15 September 2015

The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) budget for distribution among Champions League clubs has in the past ten years tripled, from €408 million to €1.3 billion this season, finds an analysis by based on UEFA annual reports.

The UEFA Champions League is the biggest football tournament organised by the UEFA, the European football association. The competition has existed since 1955, when it was still called the ‘European Champion Clubs' Cup’. In 1992 the UEFA's renamed its top tournament to the Champions League. In the Champions League the champions and the best football teams from national competitions* – including the Premier League – vie for the coveted “Cup with big ears”, so nicknamed by the French and Spanish.

Income distributed to UEFA Champions League clubs

€1,3 billion
That it is good for a club to take part in the Champions League is fairly obvious. Under the clubs taking part in the competition a pile of money is distributed each year, with the winner taking home the largest share. The budget for distribution among clubs has grown massively in recent years. In the season 2003/2004 the value of the pot was €408 million, today this has grown to €1.3 billion according to the annual report of the UEFA – a more than tripling of income for distribution in the past ten years.

The gigantic budget growth for the European association’s Champions League is well illustrated by comparing it with the budget for the European League. The small brother of the Champions League had around €232 million distributed to it participants in the 2013/2014 season, considerably less than the €770 million in that season for the Champions League (and a total of €1 billion between them). The total income of the football association in that year was €1.7 billion.

Big Earners
In the past five editions (from 2009/2010 and including 2013/2014; excluding this years’ edition) seven firms have managed to take part in all of the editions. And with their yearly qualification they have managed to pull in large sums of money, with the biggest winners Bayern Munich and Barcelona, each taking home more than €226 million for their participation. In third place is Manchester United with €222.5 million, followed by reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on €219.3 million. The top seven is closed by Real Madrid (the richest club in the world) taking home €218 million, AC Milan (€185.2 million) and Arsenal (€155.6 million).

Top 7 big earners UEFA Champions League

Because Manchester United didn’t take part in last year’s edition of the Champions League, the number of teams that have been part of the competition every year for the past five editions has dropped to six. The club of trainer Louis van Gaal and captain Wayne Rooney has qualified for the 2015/16 edition, taking part in a group with PSV Eindhoven, Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow.

* The number of clubs taking part per country is based on a complex points system, based on the performance of club-teams in the past five seasons.

More news on


Despite industry disruption televised sport still draws audiences

24 April 2019

Despite the disruption wrought on most areas of traditional broadcasting by streaming challengers, sports remains a major draw for audiences of television networks. This is particularly true of viewers who bet money on sporting events, with those that have skin in the game considerably more likely to follow the event on a television screen.

Arguably the true opiate of the masses, for centuries organised sports have been a major draw for hordes of fanatical spectators, from the grand coliseums of Ancient Rome to the more understated greens of local cricket grounds. The advent of television in the 20th century took this to a new level, allowing for widespread visual access to major sporting events, and sowing the seeds of a multi-billion industry in the process. Yet while watching sport remains a key pastime for many, changing consumer preferences and new technologies are affecting the traditional sport distribution channel of TV.

To better understand trends in the sporting broadcast market, Deloitte recently released an article titled ‘Does TV Sports have a Future?’ as part of its wider ‘Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2019’ report into telecommunications trends. The conclusions in the piece are based on the firm’s own survey of 1,062 US-based respondents.

More men than women watch sport

Traditional television has in recent years begun to lose out to streaming and on demand services, resulting in a generation that is watching considerably less television. The shift in consumer sentiment has caused traditional TV companies consternation as well as shifts in business models. The average Millennial now watches 42% fewer minutes per week of TV in 2018 than they did in 2010. Yet not all areas of the traditional television market have been as hard hit by the shift, and sport is one of them. This contradicts previous studies which may have suggested that Millennials were abandoning ‘old’ media for their sport viewing.

One reason for this could well be sports betting, which means that many of the people watching the event are keen to see how their punt is faring, in play. According to Deloitte, 78% of male sport viewers, and 64% of their female counterparts would be more likely to tune in to a live event if they had bet on it.

The study found that sport gambling remains a key fixture in the gambling industry as a whole in the UK. In the United Kingdom in 2017, sports betting had £14 billion in turnover. In the four Nordic countries, meanwhile legal gambling of all kinds was an approximate €6 billion industry in 2015. In the US, meanwhile, the industry as a whole is worth around a quarter of a trillion dollars – with sports betting figuring at around 40% of that total. The industry is projected to see growth of 9% over the coming three years.

Betting on sports is associated with watching sports on TV for more than five hours on a typical weekday

However, while the gambling industry does indeed seem to have some impact on television engagement, it would be dangerous to overstate this as a positive, and such a conclusion might also put the cart before the horse. Deloitte’s study found that ‘super-superfans’ – those who watched more than five hours on a typical weekday – were more likely to gamble than average viewers.

Of those who watch more than five hours of sport per day, only 4% do not bet. Of those, 2% do not currently bet, or have never bet, respectively. Again, it could be asserted that these people are engaging with televised sport, and thus keeping the advertising-based industry afloat, due to the betting they participate in. However, it could equally be argued that they are exhibiting compulsive behaviour in spending such a large amount of time viewing sport in the first place – behaviour which would leave them as easy prey for gambling firms, who can now milk them for profit.

But where is all this set to lead? According author Duncan Stewart, the potential profitability of this model means it is likely to be exported from the UK in the coming years.

Steward concluded, “As a thought experiment, one can imagine a 30-year-old American man in the year 2025… watching a football game on the TV set, smartphone in hand. He can bet on the match at any point, modify his wager, buy back a losing wager, bet on the outcome of individual plays or individual stats such as the number of passing yards by the quarterback—all in real time, and all tailored to him. Ads could be served that are customised for him, informed by his betting and attention, and watching would have to be 100% live. The broadcaster or betting site could not only charge more for ads seen by such an involved viewer, but even have a share in (or own outright) the profits from the betting/video stream … at margins much higher than the usual for TV broadcasting. To an American, this sounds like science fiction, but in the United Kingdom, these solutions (or variations of them) are available today.”