1st December 2017

30th November 2017 – The English Premier League’s First Billion Pound Game


London 30th November 2017.

The Premier League will this weekend (2nd December) host its first BILLION-POUND game.

The hotly-anticipated clash between old rivals Man United and Arsenal is often thrilling on the pitch. But the marquee fixture will this season make history off it, as it features for the first time two clubs whose combined annual revenues exceeds £1 billion. With their latest accounts showing United’s revenue to be £581.20million and Arsenal’s £423.96million, the combined club incomes is £1,005.16million. To put that in perspective, it is enough cash to run the NHS for three days, or pay for 22 new secondary schools.

Roger Bell said: “This is a remarkable achievement for the Premier League in terms of reflecting the success in driving revenues via lucrative TV rights deals.”

Both United and Arsenal have already declared their 2016-17 accounts and, in each case, recorded double-digit percentage year-on-year increases in revenue. This is despite them making losses overall, when all the costs of doing business are included, which Vysyble largely puts down to the huge sums spent on huge transfer fees and player wages.

Bell said: “Mostly based on the most recent domestic TV rights deal, which started in 2016, the accounting period of 2016-17 will be another record year for the Premier League in terms of revenue. “However, by our calculations, both Manchester United and Arsenal have achieved modest economic losses of £16.30million and £4.24million respectively.

“This is part of a longer-term trend whereby football clubs in general are finding it very difficult, despite their record revenue levels, to generate value and achieve an economic profit, which is where all the costs of doing business are accounted for, including taxes.”

Since 2009, Arsenal have accumulated economic losses of £133.42m and have dropped from the second-largest revenue-earning club to third, having been overtaken by Manchester City in 2014. Manchester United remains England’s largest revenue-earning club with accumulated economic losses of £17.46m since 2009.

The £1billion game comes at a time of increasing agitation from the ‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Spurs, who are seeking to increase their share of international TV and media rights at the expense of the smaller clubs in the division. Amid increasing speculation surrounding the status of the next Premier League TV deal, which is due to be announced in early 2018, these agitations have seen increased rumours of a breakaway Super League, and a breakaway of some Championship clubs to form a ‘Premier League 2’ ‘

Vysyble’s flagship report ‘We’re So Rich It’s Unbelievable’, released in the summer, showed Premier League clubs are spending beyond their means, with almost all recording overall economic losses.

Bell said: “We repeat ourselves yet again in terms of the overall economic health of football – increasing revenues are not delivering a viable economic return due to the behaviour of the clubs in spending their income.

“We continue to worry for the game’s longer-term health and structure as the continued quest for revenue will inevitably lead the top clubs to look beyond current competition formats.”