9th June 2020

9th June 2020 – Premier League Clubs Achieve Record Economic Losses


Clubs in English football’s top division achieved record economic loss of £599.54m in 2018-19 season

Combined economic losses for England’s top two tiers of football (FA Premier League and EFL Championship) reach record £907.01m for 2018-19 season

London 9th June 2020

Despite a record annual revenue of £5.156billion and prior to the advent of Covid-19, Premier League clubs achieved record economic losses totalling £599.54m for last season (2018-19), according to financial analysts Vysyble.

With four EFL (English Football League) Championship clubs yet to release their full 2019 accounts, the second senior tier of English football behind the Premier League has so far achieved collective economic losses of £307.47m from revenue of £695.82m. The final economic loss total for all 24 EFL Championship clubs is expected to be at least £350.00m.

The overall result is that the 44 clubs in England’s top two tiers of football will generate almost £6billion in revenue yet are highly likely to produce record economic losses close to £1billion in a single season.

“The latest loss numbers will have already placed the Premier League clubs in a seriously difficult position leading up to subsequent and devastating public health-related events. The Covid-19 virus is not the cause of football’s financial distress. It is merely the accelerant on what our data has very clearly and very correctly identified as a much longer-term problem,” said Roger Bell, a director of Vysyble.

“The 2018-19 numbers are a disturbing and profoundly worrying financial outcome from England’s senior football divisions and is symptomatic of the deeper issues with the overall financial model which we have highlighted many times previously.  

“With record losses at club level for 2018-19 and just 36% of Premier League clubs achieving an annual economic profit since 2009, the perception of the Premier League as ‘football’s richest division’ is clearly challenged,” said Bell.

Based on the “economic profit” concept – a much more demanding metric of performance that accounts for all of the costs of doing business including tax and the cost of equity capital – Premier League clubs have generated a collective revenue of £36.10billion since 2009 but have also produced  economic losses totalling £2.72billion.

Since 2009, the Premier League club cohort has produced just two collective economic profits from 11 seasons, in 2016-17 (profit of £224.39m) and in 2017-18 (profit of £31.59m).  This corresponds to the first and second year of the most recent 3-year 2016-19 Premier League TV contract cycle.

The economic performance change from the 2016-17 profit of £224.39m into a record loss of £599.54m in 2018-19 represents an adverse movement of £823.93m over the course of the Premier League TV cycle which was worth a record £8.236billion. This level of adverse movement is the largest we have recorded for a Premier League TV cycle.

By comparison, the previous 3-year Premier League TV cycle (2013-14 to 2015-16) was worth £5.251billion. The economic performance over the course of this cycle was an adverse movement of £383.37m, from an economic loss of £12.17m in 2013-14 to an economic loss of £395.54m in 2015-16.

“Our data has consistently demonstrated that football has been the master of its own misfortune with an over-reliance on TV revenues, staff cost to revenue ratios regularly in excess of safe operating limits (UEFA guidance recommends 70%) and a failure to recognise key financial dynamics and trends.

“Premier League club owners are still compelled to inject funds into their clubs with the latest balance sheets indicating an additional deployment of £910m in equity capital for 2018-19 despite a revenue record-breaking TV cycle. This has resulted in inevitable economic losses at record levels.

“Unfortunately, our predictions have turned out to be largely correct with the game now facing its most severe financial crisis in generations,” said Bell.

The 5th edition of Vysyble’s annual report on football finance ‘We’re So Rich It’s Unbelievable! – The Illusion of Wealth Within Football’ is currently in production and will be available free of charge from the end of June 2020 via www.vysyble.com.


The report can be found here.

More information about Economic Profit can be found here.

Previous media coverage can be found here.

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