Broadcasting is the largest revenue stream for the majority of clubs in the European Big 5. With virtually no matchday revenue for the 2020/21 season, teams have relied more than ever on broadcasting revenue to keep them afloat.
The steady growth of broadcasting deals in European football appears to have reached its end, with a number of new contracts agreed recently at a reduced price to previous deals.
- New contracts have recently been agreed at reduced values in Serie A (new cycle is down 11.7% compared with the previous) and the Bundesliga (down 8.8%).
- A four-year deal agreed between France’s football league (LFP) and Mediapro until 2024 was cut short after only four months as Mediapro pulled out. After many negotiations, a temporary deal was agreed with Canal+ for the remainder of the current season. The substitute deal combined with the 1st installment already paid by Mediapro in August 2020 amounted to c. €670.0m for the 2020/21 season, a 7.8% decrease compared to 2019/20.
- The Premier League boasts the largest combined broadcasting deals amongst the Big 5 leagues at €3.6bn – 77% higher than the next highest in Spain’s La Liga. A renewal process is expected to begin soon but has been delayed seemingly due to fears the price could also be driven down in the current environment.
Some leagues are less globally developed when it comes to broadcasting, with international rights making up a relatively small portion of the overall broadcasting revenue.
- With the now-voided Mediapro deal, France’s Ligue 1 would have had the largest percentage share from domestic revenues at 89.1% with only 10.9% coming from international deals.
- Serie A pulls in 21.3% of its broadcasting revenues from international contracts, the Bundesliga just 16.9% as these two divisions rely heavily on domestic deals.
- At the other end of the scale, the Premier League (47.2%) and La Liga (43.8%) have the highest percentage from international deals amongst the Big 5 driven by the global popularity of the top clubs.
All of the Big 5 leagues have adopted a collective approach to the sale of broadcasting rights, but have different ways of distributing their broadcasting revenues depending primarily on factors such as performance and viewership.
- All leagues have a fixed base of 50% equally shared amongst all clubs except for the Bundesliga, where 93% of funds are distributed according to club performances in the last five seasons (70% for Bundesliga, 23% for lower leagues).
- The Bundesliga is also the only league which distributes broadcasting revenues based upon Academy player involvement, although it only counts for 2%.
- The Premier League is the only league to provide a merit payment based on the current season, with all other leagues using previous season(s) and historical performances to drive distribution.
- The Premier League, La Liga and Serie A all distribute between 20% and 25% of revenues on the basis of viewership, either TV alone (number of televised fixtures) or TV and matchday ticket sales.
On the basis of revenues received by the top and bottom club, the Premier League has by far the most equitable distribution model based on 2018/19 figures.
- The absolute difference between the top and bottom Premier League club was €46m in 2018/19 equating to a 1.6x multiple, the lowest amongst the Big 5 apart from in France where the multiple of 3.2x only equated to a difference of €41m.
- La Liga has the highest multiple between top and bottom earners at 3.8x, €167m for the top earning club and €44m for the bottom. The multiple is the same in the Bundesliga where, as the distribution methodology is 93% on performance, constant high achievers will always be guaranteed a higher pay out in comparison to lower achieving clubs.
- Serie A has the second-most equitable distribution model but the top club still received 2.9x the payout to the bottom club, with €100m compared to €35m.
Relegation and the resulting drop in broadcasting revenues in the second tier competition can be extremely challenging for clubs to manage, meaning a system is in place to grant “parachute payments” to clubs dropping out of four of the Big 5 leagues.
- Serie A and Ligue 1 work on a fixed payment methodology, with clubs receiving a pre-determined fee upon relegation.
- Although largely similar, The Premier League and La Liga distribute parachute payments based on percentage shares of overall broadcasting rights.
- The Bundesliga is the only league in the Big 5 which does not distribute parachute payments, due to their broadcasting revenues already being distributed between Bundesliga 1 and 2.