13th July 2022

13th July 2022 – Successive Seasonal Economic Losses of £1.0bn+ achieved by Premier League Clubs

Premier League Clubs Achieve Economic Losses of £1.05bn for 2020-21 season

Second-biggest economic loss achieved by England’s senior clubs following record economic loss of £1.38bn in 2019-20

Covid restrictions on crowds during 2020-21 season resulted in £30m matchday revenue vs expected £700m+

London 13th July 2022

Premier League clubs achieved economic losses of £1.05bn from revenue of £4.88bn for the 2020-21 season, according to financial and strategy analysts Vysyble. This Covid-affected economic performance has delivered a record individual club economic loss for a single Premier League season (Chelsea -£207.51m) as well as a record individual club economic profit (Wolverhampton Wanderers £137.17m) following the forgiveness of outstanding loans by the club owner.

Table of 2020-21 Premier League clubs ranked by Economic Profit/Loss performance follows:

Economic Profit/Loss (EP) 2020-21 Revenue £mEP £mLeague Position
Wolverhampton Wanderers194.10137.1713
Leeds United171.0323.189
Sheffield United115.525.6920
West Bromwich Albion106.93(2.37)19
West Ham United192.73(22.84)6
Newcastle United140.19(24.88)12
Crystal Palace134.38(41.87)14
Leicester City226.20(46.63)5
Aston Villa183.63(49.69)11
Manchester City569.85(49.84)1
Brighton & Hove Albion151.66(67.64)16
Manchester United494.12(110.81)2
Tottenham Hotspur361.87(142.65)7

Year-on-year economic losses improved by £333.61m from -£1.38bn to -£1.05bn as revenues also improved by £352.63m from £4.52bn to £4.88bn.

Matchday revenue was negligible for 2020-21 when compared to previous years, with just £30.7m in achieved receipts. In Covid-free 2018-19, matchday revenue was £677.21m and we estimate that Premier League clubs have lost approximately £800m in matchday revenues because of Covid.

Broadcast revenues also improved from £2.34bn in 2019-20 to £3.34bn in 2020-21.

Despite the lack of crowds and reduced financial capacity, staff costs rose by 5.86% to £3.45bn. Over the most recent five years of accounts (2017-21), Premier League club staff costs have risen by 38.2% (£954.53m).

“The 2020-21 numbers are understandably poor following on from the 2019-20 record economic loss of £1.38bn and they would have been worse but for the write-off of loans by the owners of Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Big Six clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur) achieved combined economic losses of £688.76m which represents 63% of the overall divisional economic loss for the year,” said Vysyble Co-Founder Roger Bell.

Since 2009, Premier League clubs have achieved combined economic losses of £5.16bn from revenues of £45.50bn. There is just a one-in-three instance of a Premier League club achieving an economic profit over this period.

“Owning a top English football club is not a profitable enterprise. Football lacks the merger and acquisition element that we commonly see in general commerce when a sector is performing poorly from a financial standpoint. Therefore, in Football’s case, financial reform must either be operational or structural in nature. Indeed the ‘Super League’ was an obvious and highly predictable expression of the latter option. With numbers as dire as they have been over the last two years, Super League version 2.0 is not at all inconceivable,” said Bell.

In the EFL (English Football League) Championship, the second senior tier of English football behind the Premier League, clubs have achieved collective economic losses of -£312.38m (-£512.23m in 2019-20) from revenue of £560.09m (£642.01m in 2019-20) in the 2020-21 season.

The overall result is that England’s 44 most senior clubs in the top two tiers of football have earned almost £5.64bn in revenue during 2020-21 yet have achieved economic losses close to £1.37bn.

‘Our data clearly demonstrates that football’s financial and economic model is at best very challenged. The Government has made some progress with the Fan-led Review. However, the proposed reforms do not in themselves address the value-destructive characteristics that are all too evident from our numbers,’ said Bell.

The “economic profit” concept is a much more demanding and intellectually robust measure of performance that incorporates all the costs of doing business including tax and the cost of equity capital.

The accountancy-led perspective and measures such as Pre-Tax, EBITDA etc do not consider a charge or cost for equity capital. Loans converted into equity capital or a direct injection of money into a club by the club owner in exchange for equity capital is free of any charge to the balance sheet by current accountancy standards. Factoring in the cost of such capital delivers greater depth and insight into overall business performance.

The 7th 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 in October 2022 via www.vysyble.com.

Vysyble was launched in August 2016 and has gained international recognition in the calculation and examination of companies and market sectors in the achievement of Economic Profit and the creation of fundamental value.


More information about Economic Profit can be found here.

Previous media coverage can be found here.

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