22 Nov 2017
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La Liga surpasses €3 bn revenue in a single season for the first time

MUMBAI: European soccer league La Liga has released the latest edition of the Professional Football Financial Report, which includes information from the last five seasons and evidences of the vast economic transformation that has taken place at its member clubs and public limited sports companies (SADs). The results reiterate that the competition is now in fine financial fettle.

The report shows that La Liga’s clubs and SADs’ total revenues reached €3.034 billion last term – up 15.9% on the previous campaign and surpassing the €3bn mark for the first time. This represents an increase of almost 50% on five seasons ago. There is also a milestone when it comes to pre-tax profits, with the aggregate figure among the 42 clubs in the top two tiers of Spanish football standing at above €200 million for the first time.

As a point of comparison, in 2011/12, the first season this data set in, the 42 clubs in these divisions were recording annual losses of €135.3m.

Broadcasting revenues have increased by €270.7m, a 31% rise compared to the 2014/15 season, as a consequence of the way in which La Liga has revamped and reorganised the selling of broadcast rights. The positive impact of the centralised sale of these rights will be even more visible when the accounts for the 2016/17 season are published.

“The report points to an increase in revenue, improved performance and a reduction of debt, and confirms that the restructuring process in Spanish football has been brought to fruition,” said La Liga president Javier Tebas in an introductory letter that accompanies the report. He went on to note that it may take a few more seasons to achieve the desired stability at certain individual clubs, due to their particular circumstances, and especially in La Liga 1|2|3, but stressed that, “on a whole, the objective has been accomplished.”

Tebas also thanked the clubs for the “commitment that they have demonstrated from the outset” to the process and working ethos in question, which they have “driven and embraced” to the extent that it has been possible to completely “transform the way in which Spanish professional football is managed.”

Growing matchday revenues (up by 23 per cent to €144 million) are another highlight of this instalment of the Professional Football Financial Report, an improvement that can be put down to rising attendances overall and the participation of seven Spanish clubs in European competitions, including five in the Champions League.

Total net debt has fallen for the fifth consecutive year, dropping to €2.389 billion. La Liga’s clubs have reduced their net debt by €835 million since the 2011/12 campaign, halving their debt-to-income ratio from 1.8 in that season to 0.9 in 2015/16.

Another of the standout figures in the report is the steady reduction in debt owed to public authorities, which has been slashed from €643.1 million to €222.7 million. The document also underlines the contribution made by the professional football industry to the state coffers in the form of tax payments, which are estimated to have amounted to €1.2606bn in the 2015/16 season.

“Spain’s professional football clubs have fulfilled their commitment to improving the financial health of the sector, eliminating a factor that previously led to distorted competition so as to restore a level playing field,” Tebas added in his letter.

All in all, the results augur a promising future for La Liga, with strong foundations based on economic balance having been laid down. Now the organisation’s medium-term goal is to be at the forefront of the major domestic leagues on the financial side, just like it already leads the way on the pitch.