European Football: High Speed Growth

June 3, 2024

European Football: High Speed Growth - SBI Barcelona

The growing world of European football is a juxtaposition of two situations. On one hand we have high industry growth and on the other hand we have the growing chasm between the ‘big 5’ leagues and the rest. In this write-up we deconstruct the layers of revenue growth in European football

The Layered Mountain

As per Deloitte UK Annual Football Finance Review, the total size of European Football industry was €29.5bn in 2022 which includes club football like ‘big 5’ & ‘non big 5’ leagues and national associations. The last five year journey has seen ups and downs. The total industry size in 2018 was €28.4bn which fell by 11% to €25.2bn during pandemic-infested 2020 following which it then climbed vigorously by 17% reaching €29.5bn in 2022

The ‘big 5’ leagues had the maximum share in 2018 of €15.6bn or 55% which grew by 10% to reach €17.2bn in 2022

European Football: High Speed Growth - SBI Barcelona

Big Five Leagues: Top of the Mountain

As is evident, the big five leagues dominate in revenue share in European football. Digging deeper to ascertain who among the five leagues grew maximum

Is it a surprise if the results point to Premier League growing the most in 4-year period, by 19% to reach €6.45bn in 2022? In terms of percentage points, French Ligue 1 too grew by 18% in the same period however, in value terms, the share is the lowest amongst the five leagues, at €1.99bn in 2022. The infographic below gives a clear picture

European Football: High Speed Growth - SBI Barcelona

The Other Layer: Top 20 Revenue Generating Clubs

Every year Deloitte chronicles the top 20 revenue generating clubs who incidentally have a consistent 40% share in the European football revenue mountain. These clubs mostly are from the ‘big five’ with one or two exceptions. Some of the most interesting points noted while studying the top 20 revenue generating clubs

  • 15 clubs have REMAINED IN TOP 20 over the last 3 years. Between them they contributed about 86% of the total revenues. Incidentally, 9 clubs out of these 15 were a part of the erstwhile Super League
  • The top 10 clubs contribute 68% of the total revenue generated by the top 20 money league clubs
  • Not only are the revenue gap between ‘the money league clubs’ and others increasing but even within themselves, there is a big gap and that is increasing y-o-y.
    • The revenue gap between top 10 and next 10 is about €3.8bn in 22/23
    • That has increases y-o-y. In 20/21 it was €2.7bn, in 21/22 it was €3.3bn which increased to €3.8bn presently
    • As per data the gap has increased mainly due to commercial revenue which has steadily increased over the last 3 years
  • Total combined revenue of the top 20 clubs are 40% of the total European football revenues
European Football: High Speed Growth - SBI Barcelona


As can be seen, there are numerous data points suggesting high growth of European football industry. This has in turn led to two resulting developments. One, high accompanied wage growth (we have discussed this topic, you can read it here) and two, multitude of investments in European football.

The industry and the stakeholders are, however, making sure that the beautiful game grows sustainable and with unbridled passion

At SBI we go at length in various aspects of the business side of football in our various courses. The Master in Football Business & Management course is designed to embark you on a transformational journey that will optimize your opportunities of success in the football industry.

You can read more about the course here

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