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EPL sets high bar in European soccer, finances and glamor

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GENEVA (AP) — The world’s richest football league kicks off the new season in England on Friday as the rest of Europe looks for ways to catch up.

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Off the field, the English Premier League is a commercial juggernaut with broadcasts around the world, fueling player transfers and salaries that most others can’t match. This helps explain why some clubs created the Super League project.

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The league’s wealth helped English champions Manchester City make a landmark signing for a summer deal. Erling Haaland’s move from Borussia Dortmund cost City more than £100m ($122m) in transfer and agency fees.

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While Haaland was a City fan as a child whose father played there, he was also lured into a competitive league that avoids the dominance of one club that has recently seen in Germany, Italy and France.

On the pitch, five different teams have won the Premier League in the last 10 seasons, including Leicester’s stunning title in 2016. Although City have four of their last five titles, two of them were epic duels with Liverpool.

The Champions League also feels the power of the Premier League, with four different teams having played in the last four finals, including two all-English games. Liverpool have appeared in three of the last five finals, winning just one Premier League title.

The same four teams – City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham – are England’s champions of the Champions League this season.

Manchester United and Arsenal have only qualified for the second-tier Europa League and are by far the richest clubs in it.

Here’s a look at England’s financial dominance and the challenges other big leagues face:


Premier League broadcast rights earned 3.64 billion euros ($3.7 billion) last season, while Spain’s La Liga earned about 2 billion euros ($2.04 billion). UEFA annual survey European football.

“Of course, this is the best example in the world of how to advertise sports competitions,” praised Jacco Swart, managing director of the European league group of 30 countries.

The evenly-weighted distribution of cash generated £98m ($119m) in prize money for the Premier League’s worst team, Norwich City, more than the entire budget of most European clubs.

English clubs finished in 10 of the top 18 places in the rankings. latest Deloitte list the highest paid. Manchester City, owned by Abu Dhabi, was in the lead with 644.9 million euros ($657 million).

According to UEFA, the total payroll of the 20 Premier League clubs was €2.88bn ($2.93bn) in 2020, €1bn ($1.02bn) more than La Liga, and more than in the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A combined.

In pursuit of Spain

La Liga distributes prize money to the best clubs, with the winner receiving around 160 million euros ($163 million), three times more than other clubs.

That’s good for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, who have won every league title since Valencia in 2004, though not for competitive balance.

“They don’t have a very long tradition of collectively selling (rights),” Swart said.

Real Madrid’s reaction to difficult times was another Champions League win, incredibly edging out the top three English clubs and Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid and Barcelona have long since boosted their Champions League revenues, using influence in the European Club Association they left to create unsuccessful Super League — to send prize money to legendary clubs.

Barcelona has eased its financial crisisfueled by long-term cost overruns on wages, by exchanging money for future television rights for cash from an investment firm.

One result was the signing of Bayern Munich’s FIFA Player of the Year Robert Lewandowski, although Barcelona’s reputation has been hurt by Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong having to take a pay cut.

The Spanish success is that manager Unai Emery lifted first Sevilla and now the provincial town of Villarreal to outplay and win a total of four Europa League titles.


50+1 Bundesliga Ownership Rule widely known for protecting club identities and preventing takeovers by oil-rich states, oligarchs and billionaires lured into the Premier League.

The clubs that control the majority of voting rights are built into a German culture that also limits ticket prices and pay TV, a principled stance that drives down revenue.

“What people are willing to pay to watch football in England is completely different from what people are willing to pay in Germany,” Swart said.

The average subscription price is £1,095 ($1,325). at Arsenal but some Dortmund fans can pay as little as €240 ($244).

Dortmund also excel at signing and raising English teenagers and then selling them back to the Premier League. Former Haaland teammate Jadon Sancho moved to Manchester United for a quadruple profit and Jude Bellingham is likely to be next.


Since hosting the 1990 World Cup, Serie A has become a rich and glamorous league. Decline followed the launch of the Premier League and Champions League in 1992, and Italian stars began moving to Chelsea and even the unfashionable Middlesbrough.

Serie A clubs fell even further behind, playing in city-owned stadiums – some of them were shared, with athletics lanes and met quickly – they couldn’t use them commercially.

Juventus opened their own stadium in 2011 and won nine titles in a row. The bureaucracy did not help the plans to build the stadium in Rome, Milan and elsewhere, upsetting the new wave of American club owners.

Chinese ownership of Milan and Inter has been tricky, though both have ended a decade-long wait to win Serie A.

Italy’s preference to host the 2032 European Championship may prompt a much needed stadium modernization program and on-pitch performance has improved.

Attack-minded teams Atalanta and Napoli have helped Serie A shake off a bad reputation that has blunted global interest in paying for broadcast rights.


Ligue 1 has been largely owned by Paris Saint-Germain since Qatar bought the club in 2011, months after being named hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Lyon and Marseille have not won a title since 2008 and 2010 respectively, and both are now owned by the Americans.

New Lyon majority owner John Textor arrived in June. promising to spend then pursue PSG at home with European ambitions.

Marseille has there was turmoil six years under former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, though he is now back in the Champions League.

Another foreign owner challenging Nice once again is Monaco-based British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who has often been linked to Chelsea acquisition bids.

The overseas ownership model offers some stability after crash two years ago of the league’s advertised new broadcast deal.


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