The Covid-19 pandemic would have cost European football 7 billion euros over the two years, UEFA said in a report published Thursday, where it notes a sharp decline in the transfer market for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
According to UEFA, European clubs faced a shortfall of 4 billion euros in 2020, and 3 billion euros in the following season, thus interrupting a growth of twenty years in a row. That is a total of 7 billion.
The main causes for this significant loss are the drop in ticketing revenue due to empty stadiums (with €4.4 billion in lost revenue), reduced commercial and sponsorship activities (a projection of €1.7 billion in drop) and TV rights also slightly impacted with just under a billion.
A positive recovery observed in recent months
These results are in line with the forecasts unveiled by the body in May 2021, which envisaged a decline of €7.2 billion over two years for 711 first division clubs in Europe.
This new study includes the consolidated results of these same 700 clubs for the year 2020, as well as the anticipated financial statements of 95 major teams for the year 2021, particularly marked by behind closed doors. These long months of empty stadiums have indeed caused a drastic decrease in ticketing revenues, plummeting by 88% in 2021 compared to 2019.
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Nevertheless, UEFA also insists on the positive recovery observed in recent months: “The fans still seem to have more appetite than ever to return to the stadium”, she says, while noticing a rebound in the transfer window during the winter window that just ended at the end of January.
Ligue 1 among the most impacted Championships
UEFA also analyzed the impact of Covid on the transfer market: “Revenue from transfers fell by 40% during the summer 2020, January 2021 and summer 2021 transfer windows” compared to their original level, specifies the body of European football in its report which figures the expenditure of European clubs at 3.8 billion euros in the summer of 2021, against 6.5 billion euros in the summer transfer window 2019.
Indeed, €950m was spent last month in Europe, according to UEFA estimates. A total down only 10% compared to the average winter transfer window between 2017 and 2019.
The activity of Ligue 1 clubs on the market fell by 50% between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2021, with a negative balance of €400m spent against €372m received.
Victims of the withdrawal of their broadcaster Mediapro, the starting point for a drop in their television revenues, Ligue 1 clubs are among the hardest hit in Europe, with overall revenues down 29% since March 2020, against around 20 % for England, Germany and Spain, and 26% for Italy.
Between 2019 and 2020, PSG saw its income drop by 15%, to €560 million. It is nevertheless in the top 5 of the highest earners in Europe, behind FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.