Study: English Soccer League Richest, German Most Profitable

 

COLOGNE, Germany - English club soccer remains the biggest in the world but Germany's Bundesliga is the most financially efficient. That's the finding of Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance, the auditory giant's yearly report at the balance sheets of Europe's national soccer leagues.

The study, which looks at the 2010/11 season, again ranks England's Premier League as the richest on the planet, recording a 12 percent jump in revenue to $3.5 billion (£2.27 billion). The growth surge came largely from increasingly lucrative TV rights, especially outside the U.K. where revenue for Premier League rights more than doubled last season.

Second in Europe and far behind the Premier League in terms of revenue was the Bundesliga, which saw 5 percent revenue growth to $2.5 billion, on par with Spain's La Liga.

The Bundesliga's squads outpaced England's top teams in terms of profit, however, earning a net $240 million in profits last season, a 24 percent jump, compared to the Premier League's net profit of $106 million. Deloitte forecast a further strengthening of the Bundesliga next season, noting a 50 percent jump in TV license fees thanks to a new lucrative deal with News Corp.'s Sky Deutschland. Germany's soccer league is also set to benefit financially next year when pan-European club tournament the Champions League grants the Bundesliga a third slot in the finals. London squad Chelsea beat German team Bayern Munich in the Champions League final this year, a match that was one of the highest-rated TV events across Europe so far this year.

English squads found their profit margins squeezed by soaring salary costs. Some 70 percent of Premier League revenues went to pay players' wages last season, the Deloitte report found.

The English and German leagues were the only European leagues to turn a profit last season. Top-tier leagues in Spain, France and Italy all booked a net loss. France's Ligue 1 also saw revenues dip, slipping 3 percent to $1.4 billion, the only one of the top five national leagues not to see year-on-year growth.

Overall, European professional soccer teams booked a record $23.8 billion in sales in the 2010/11 season.

The 2012/13 European club soccer season doesn't kick off till late August but European squads could get a financial boost from the Euro 2012, which runs June 8-July 1, in which national European sides square off. A strong performance by the national side at the Euros tends to benefit the local league, particularly when it comes to the sale of international broadcast rights.

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