Why is the battle for a European place such a big deal?

We’re just a matter of days away from the 2017/18 Premier League starting up, with the summer of huge money signings almost concluding, so we’re going to take a look at the stacks of money on offer to Premier League teams.

Coming up from the Championship

Starting off with entry to the top division of English football – and arguably the greatest division of domestic football in the world – teams in the Championship have the most on offer regarding revenue increase if they earn passage to the Premier League.

Last season, excluding the upcoming Premier League payments and potential income as a result, Newcastle United earned a cool £7.1 million for winning the second-tier of English football.

This is because each team in the Championship receives the same basic and solidarity reward regardless of their finishing position. The amount was also bolstered by the bonus TV payments from broadcaster Sky to show Newcastle’s games.

Huddersfield were football financials beneficiaries after earning promotion last season

As was heavily covered during the Championship playoffs, the victor would receive a massive increase in revenue upon winning the knockout section of the season. Huddersfield Town won the playoff final at Wembley stadium last season, and are set to see a whopping £170 million minimum increase in revenue over the next three seasons.

First off, their placement, TV money, and even split of the Premier League TV Rights pot will earn them £95 million if they were to finish dead-last. Then, if they were to get relegated, they would get an added £75 million over the ensuing two seasons as a parachute payment.

Standard Premier League money

In the Premier League last season, Chelsea were rewarded with £38 million for winning and Sunderland, who came 20th, were given £1.9 million for their placement.

To add to this, there was also the TV money for being broadcasted, which ranged from £13.6 million for Sunderland, Hull City, Burnley, and Swansea, up to £31.4 million for Liverpool. Then there’s the equal split of the Premier League TV rights pot, which was split into being £84.4 million to each team, regardless of finishing position.

Premier League football financials - a comprehensive list

Race for the top four

The top four places in the Premier League are the most coveted of all, as it grants passage to the Champions League. Due to the sheer competitiveness of the division, these four places are often earmarked for around six teams, so the competition is fierce.

Within the top four, the placement reward starts at £38 million for the champions and goes down to £32.3 million for the team that snuck into fourth.

Regarding TV money, as you would expect, the top teams get a bit more than most other teams. Last season, money from the top six teams – Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United – ranged from £27.6 million to £30.4 million, with the next closest team being Everton at £21.1 million.

Now, being Premier League champions also adds a significant boost to the amount that the team is shown on TV.

Take Leicester City for example. After their incredible title winning season in 2015/16, they earned the most TV money of any team outside of the top seven with £19.2 million in 2016/17, whereas their title winning campaign only garnered them £12.8 million due to fewer of their broadcast games.


However, Leicester went in with a somewhat bog-standard number of games set to be shown when they shocked the Premier League, whereas Chelsea are already a top team, so their TV money won’t see as much of an increase, but they will likely have a couple more of their games televised.

Now, the reward that all of the top clubs strive for: qualification to the Champions League. The top three go straight into the Champions League group stage, and fourth place enters into the playoff round.

It’s very rare for a Premier League team to not make it through the playoff round, so – speaking generally – the Premier League top four will receive an added £10.59 million for making it to the group stage.

With the merit pay for their placing, their TV money, the £84.4 million in even split of the TV right money, as well as the qualification to the Champions League group stage, top four teams earn upwards of around £160 million.

Competing in the Champions League

In recent years, Premier League clubs have struggled to perform well on the Champions League stage, with many citing how competitive the English league is – especially compared to the huge lack of competition in the other top leagues of Europe – as the problem.

But there is still big money to be won along the way...

So, playing in the group stage will bring in £10.59 million with each win adding another £1.31 million and each draw adding £440,000. For reaching the round of 16, teams are rewarded with £5.25 million, and then further progression to the quarter finals gets £5.69 million.

The semi finals bring in £6.56 million, and whichever team falls short in the final gets £9.62 million in consolation cash. Then, the winners of the Champions League take home a mighty £13.56 million, with a team who were perfect in the group stage and won the competition being able to earn a total of £50.05 million.

But the winnings don’t simply end there; the Champions League champion also gets to play in the Champions League next season, regardless of domestic league placement, and will feature in both the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. The Super Cup winners receive £3.63 million, with the runners up getting a decent £2.72 million.

When it comes to the FIFA World Club Cup, it’s very rare that the Champions League winners don’t walk away with the silverware.

Since its inception in 2000 – but not running in consecutive years until 2005 onwards – the Champions League victor has won the competition in nine of the 13 tournaments, including each of the last four, and has been in all but one final. So, with history all but guaranteeing a top two place, that’s another £3.08 million for coming second or £3.84 million for a win.

Europa League holds value

It’s not as lavish as the Champions League, but the Europa League still serves its purpose. In fact, leagues all over Europe covet the second-tier tournament despite the majority of Premier League fans turning their noses up at it.

But last season, Manchester United proved its worth by using it to qualify for the Champions League despite coming sixth in the Premier League.

Football financials after Europa League helpful for Manchester United

In monetary terms, Europa League doesn’t bring much to the table compared to the other big competitions, with the winner of the entire tournament getting £5.9 million from the final – earning up to £14.3 million for a perfect group stage and tournament win.

But it’s all about the qualification to the Champions League to bring in at least another £10.59 million for being in the group stage. On top of that, the Europa League winners also get to face off in the UEFA Super Cup against the Champions League winners for either £2.72 million or £3.63 million.

Just base earnings

All of the TV and placement money for competing in these elite football tournaments does make up a fair chunk of a club’s earnings, but then there also aspects such as sponsorship deals to consider.

For example, Manchester United reportedly won an extra £22 million bonus from Adidas for winning the Europa League.

With upwards of £205 million available for achieving a domestic-Europe double as well as winning the two bonus competitions – not even accounting for the sponsorships and domestic cups – there’s no wonder why the top teams battle it out every year to get to the Champions League and spend huge sums to do so. 

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