29th March 2020

28th March 2020 – Promoted Sky Bet Championship Clubs Incur Record Staff Costs


Highest-ever Amount Paid by A Trio of Clubs Achieving Promotion

London 28th March 2020

Using the latest available accounts, Vysyble’s research has found that the three English Football League (EFL) clubs promoted from the Championship to the English Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 collectively paid a record amount in Staff Costs during their successful promotion-winning season.

Aston Villa, Norwich City and Sheffield United paid a total £190.59m (£15.88m per month, £3.66m per week) between them. Combined revenue for the three clubs amounted to just £109.50m.

The Staff Cost to Revenue ratio for the promoted trio is 174.05%, up from the previous year’s level achieved by Cardiff City, Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers of 154.28% (£153.45m in Staff Costs, £99.46m in Revenue).

Season Staff Costs £m Revenue £m Staff Cost:Revenue Ratio%
2018-19 190.59 109.50 174.05
2017-18 153.45 99.46 154.28
2016-17 174.27 130.63 133.37
2015-16 89.50 103.63 86.37
2014-15 99.66 83.36 119.56

Over the most recent five years of accounts, Staff Costs have increased by 91% for the successfully promoted cohort of clubs while revenues have increased by a much smaller 31%.

The 2018-19 promotion-winning trio also incurred the second-highest ever collective loss after all the costs of doing business and taxation were taken into account (Economic Profit/Loss) at -£133.25m, just £1.05m short of the record total achieved by Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United in 2016-17 of -£134.20m.

2018-19 is also notable for the largest-ever economic loss achieved by a club gaining promotion to the Premier League with Aston Villa’s  -£73.60m surpassing Newcastle United’s -£62.50m in 2016-17.

Since 2009, only one club has achieved both promotion and an economic profit in the same year (Crystal Palace 2012-13).  Clearly, the pursuit of Premier League status is a predominantly loss-making exercise.

“The attraction of the Premier League’s estimated record annual club revenues of more than £5.0bn in 2019-20 has proven to be an irresistible draw for some Championship clubs regardless of the financial impact.

“The latest numbers show a clear relationship with the financial step-change seen in successive domestic TV cycles with over £392.52m of economic losses achieved by clubs in their successful promotion campaigns over the 3-year term of the 2016-19 cycle vs £151.04m in economic losses in the previous TV cycle of 2013-16.

“Owners are prepared to throw caution to the wind into achieving promotion. The successful clubs for 2018-19 lost £121.69 for every £100 of revenue during their promotion campaign which is very concerning.

 “Given the current emergency, football has found itself in an extremely difficult position which is not helped by this level of financial excess. As we have stated many times previously, this is unsustainable. The game’s administrators need to take a very long, hard look at this data and learn to regulate accordingly when the game eventually returns. We are happy to offer our assistance in doing so.”