London (AFP) – English Premier League clubs enjoyed record profits last season, according to a report published Friday by financial consultants Deloitte.
The report said the Premier League made a collective pre-tax profit of £0.5 billion ($0.7 billion, 0.57 billion euros) almost three times the previous record of £0.2 billion in 2013/14.
With strong broadcast revenues and Financial Fair Play rules keeping wages in check to a degree, England’s top-flight clubs also posted a record operating profit — total revenues minus wages and other costs, apart from transfer fees, – of £1 billion, double the figure for the previous season.
Wages, however, did rise across the league by nine percent to a new record of £2.5 billion but overall revenue rose 25 percent.
Dan Jones, the head of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said the revenue increase was a result of last season being the first of a three-year domestic broadcasting deal with BT and Sky worth more than £5.1 billion.
Jones added the increase in wages was “nowhere near the level of revenue growth” and this “reflects both the extent of (the Premier League’s) financial advantage over other leagues and the impact of domestic and European cost control measures”.
Although the league has had difficulties in selling the next set of domestic broadcast rights this year, Jones forecast that clubs, who have made collective pre-tax profits in three of the last four years, would continue to record impressive financial figures.
“Despite the lack of growth in domestic broadcast deals announced to date, we still expect to see overall revenue growth in the coming seasons, and if this is complemented with prudent cost control, we expect that pre-tax profits will be achieved for the foreseeable future,” he explained.
The above figures do not include transfer costs, which for accounting purposes are spread over the length of a player’s contract.
Transfer fees are continuing to rise worldwide but Deloitte are confident the Premier League is well-placed to continue to compete with the likes of Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga for leading players, with a number of top footballers likely to be looking for new clubs after the World Cup in Russia in June and July.
“We have already seen some clubs utilising their significant revenue increases, with a record £1.9 billion spent on transfers in the 2017/18 season,” said Tim Bridge, a senior Deloitte consultant.
“We may again see similar levels of spending in the coming season, with the World Cup providing the perfect shop window for talent, but expenditure remains well within the means of clubs.”