The COVID-19 severely tested the resilience of the European football ecosystem. Matches across the continent had been brought to a halt in a period when domestic and international competitions are entering their final and most valuable knockout stages. As a result, national associations and clubs lost their vital matchday revenues and income from broadcast and commercial partners.
According to data presented by SafeBettingSites.com, the annual revenue of the Union of European Football Associations, UEFA, amounted to just over €3bn, an €800 million plunge in a year.
Ticket sales revenues slumped by 92% in a year
After the pandemic struck, UEFA’s Executive Committee had to postpone or cancel several competitions to safeguard players’ and officials’ health and reduce the pressure on member associations. The EURO 2020 was postponed by twelve months, ensuring Europe’s domestic competitions could reduce some financial damage by completing their seasons after lockdown restrictions were eased. In turn, clubs agreed to delay the start of the 2020/21 season so UEFA could safely conclude its Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Europe’s governing body of football also called off several training courses and educational programs, cut down travel and accommodation expenses, canceled non-essential projects, and accepted temporary salary reductions. Collectively, these countermeasures delivered €34 million in savings. However, total revenue losses caused by the pandemic were still huge.
After generating more than €3.8bn in the 2018/2019 season, UEFA’s annual revenue plunged to €3.03 bn. As the largest revenue stream, broadcasting rights dropped by 21% YoY to nearly €2.6bn. Revenue from the commercial rights amounted to €417.8 million, a 12% decrease in a year. However, UEFA’s tickets and hospitality revenues witnessed the biggest hit amid the pandemic, plunging by 92% YoY to €3.8 million last season.
Top-tier UEFA clubs to lose €7.2B in two years
This month, UEFA has also released the twelfth edition of The European Club Footballing Landscape report, which revealed the full scope of devastating financial losses caused by the pandemic.
Statistics show that UEFA’s top-tier football clubs are set to lose a total of €7.2bn in revenue in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons. Combined ticket sales revenues are set to plunge by €3.6bn or 50% of total losses. Another €2.4bn will be lost from sponsorship and commercial deals while broadcasting revenues are expected to plunge by €1.2bn in two years.
Lower-tier professional football clubs are projected to lose €1.5bn in the 2019-21 period.
The UEFA survey revealed that European clubs’ transfer spending in the summer of 2020 also plunged by 39% in a year and was down by 30% on the average for the previous three summer transfer windows.