How Do Irish Clubs Fare in UEFA Benchmark?

UEFA has released the 11th edition of the European Club Footballing Landscape report, its annual club licensing benchmarking report on European club football.

It shows a breakdown of the revenue sources and expenditure percentages for every top-flight club across the 55 National Leagues that compete under the banner of the governing body for European Football.

The numbers at the top are mind-boggling in their size.

The revenues in 2017/18 financial accounts for the 20 teams in the Premier League were €5.4 Billion, that is more than the combined more than 600 clubs in the top division of the fifty leagues beyond the English, German, Spanish, Italian and French leagues.

There is an abundance of food for thought for those planning a new future for the domestic game here in Ireland. Elsewhere today we cover the roadshows that will take place over the coming weeks with Kieran Lucid, promoter of the new All-Island League.

The SSE Airtricity League comes in 36th overall in terms of revenue with €15 million revenue. The Northern Ireland Football League sits three places lower with €10 million in revenue.

Combining the two would still only lift an All-Island League to 32nd but you would imagine the additional leverage would be of greater value.

The report is incredibly detailed and breaks down the source of revenue across each of the leagues.

The breakdown for the SSE Airtricity League shows that we earn 42 per cent of income from sponsorship and commercial partnerships; 28 per cent from gate receipts; 16 per cent from UEFA; 13 per cent from ‘other’ revenue and six per cent from transfer fees.

The UEFA figure is substantially down on years in which we would have success in European competition, as has been the case in previous years and will doubtless be so again in future.

We do not register any income from domestic TV rights, as neither do Northern Ireland.

North of the border the highest amount is 35 per cent from ‘other’ revenue which is more likely to be from state funding. 24 per cent comes from UEFA revenues with 21 per cent from sponsorship and commercial; 19 per cent from gate receipts and five per cent from transfers.

Northern Ireland has a lower cost base though as is evidenced by the reported profitability of clubs.

One club in the SSE Airtricity is reported as having returned a profit margin of greater than twenty per cent. Three more were in the black to the tune of between zero and ten per cent. Three made a loss of between those same figures with three more recording a figure in the red of greater than 20 per cent margin on turnover.

In Northern Ireland nine of the twelve top-flight clubs recorded a profit with only three showing a loss.

The report runs to 131 pages and is a treasure trove of data on the way in which football clubs are run. We will pore over the detail and report back in bite-size chunks on sponsorship, broadcast and other revenues and expenditure over the coming days and weeks.

There will, of course, be those who might be sorry that a similar transparent, root and branch analysis was not undertaken at the national level in recent years though, with all the data taken from published accounts, the clean bill of health given to the FAI by their auditors would have painted a rosier picture than was actually the case.

The FAI, Three, Aviva, SSE Airtricity, Sport Direct, Bohemian FC, Drogheda United FC and many more involved in football are active members of Sport for Business. Contact us today to find out more about what we could do for your organisation.

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