UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Key worry emerges as Champions League revenue remains crucial for participating clubs

Football

The Champions League is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the football world, with only the best European clubs battling it out each year. As this season’s edition is coming to an end, and with a new format ready for next season, it feels like a good time to revisit just how much revenue the competition brings in for the participating club. 

Indeed, just as the revenue excites the club executives, there is no doubt that most football fans look forward to the mid-week action. The Champions League is fast, exciting and often end-to-end, keeping the viewers on their toes from start to finish. Especially those who like to place a bet or two on the games, with the tournament’s unpredictability adding both opportunity and risk. 

Undoubtedly, the sheer pace of Champions League games – on average anyway – is behind the rise of football betting apps in India and all over the world. Speed is of the essence, just seconds too late and you could lose out on potential winnings. The same applies to the participating clubs, as the Champions League revenue is essential. Similarly to punters, mistakes could prove to be very costly and as a result, clubs do anything to avoid these. 

This is especially true for clubs that cannot rely on lucrative broadcasting deals domestically, with even the top leagues in France, Italy and Spain being examples of this. For them, the Champions League revenue can often tip the scale from ending up in a deficit to at least reaching the break-even point. It’s easy to understand why when looking at the numbers, as just qualifying for the tournament can bring in €30-40m. 

The new format, which will replace the group stage with a league format ahead of the knockout phase, is set to increase the overall prize pot and this means more money for the participating clubs. On the flip side, more games will be played and this is far from ideal for the players. Clubs are already struggling with an increasing number of injuries and the players themselves have urged UEFA, FIFA and others to relax the schedule. Most of us will know by now, however, that money talks in the football world. 

And it is indeed a lot of money we are talking about. Manchester City, who won the title in the 2022-23 season, took home a whopping €131m in prize money. This does not include the process from ticket sales for home games which, if we had to make an educated, is probably a little more than half the prize money. AC Milan, who reached the semi-finals, took home around €125m in prize money and ticket sales. This allowed them to make a profit for the first time since 2006, which says a lot about the Champions League’s importance. 

This importance is only set to increase with the new format, especially since the Super League threat has now been dealt with by UEFA. The big downside, as already mentioned, is that there will be more games for the players. The schedule is already crazy tight for the big clubs and it remains to be seen what impact the new format will have in the long run. One can’t imagine that it will be positive, let’s just put it that way, even if it will bring more money into the clubs’ coffers. 

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