More than a game: Football is big business

There are few sports that have the global reach and appeal of football. The recent World Cup qualifiers showed that it has infiltrated the consciousness of nations across the globe, and you can travel to the most far flung corners and still find shops selling Manchester United and Real Madrid merchandise.

While it is great from a cultural perspective to have a sport that can bring people together from any background, there are also some significant financial implications to football’s appeal. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) generated revenue of around €4.5 billion in the year 2015/16. Here are some other indicators that show that the football industry is a better money spinner than it has ever been.

Football betting through the roof

The smartphone era has changed the face of sports betting. Once the province of those who understood the mysterious ways of the high street betting shop, punters can now log on to a huge range of sites to place bets on any game at any time from any location. The latter point is particularly important. A look at, for example, shows the variety of sites available in Germany, but this is just the beginning. Gamblers are increasingly appearing from far afield as North America and the Indian Subcontinent to place bets on European matches.

Premiership players earning more than ever

Many thought that the footballers earning telephone number salaries would be a bubble that had to burst, but year on year, the salaries keep getting higher. The biggest hike was at the end of the 2013 season, when they went up by nine percent, but subsequent years have seen rises that have been almost as impressive. At the top of the tree, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba earns £280,000 a week – but it is still less than the £300,000 salary that Wayne Rooney negotiated two years ago.

TV deals are increasing in value

One of the main reasons the clubs can afford to keep paying their players more is that they are generating increasing revenue from lucrative television deals. The presence of more broadcasters has not served to cheapen football, it has only made the bidding more ferocious. In 2015, Sky and BT Sport got into open warfare to secure the best games. The result? An incredible £5.1 billion spent on screening rights. The even better news is that this money filters through to grass roots levels, ensuring the sport’s future sustainability.

Promotion to the Premiership is worth millions

When Bournemouth were at last promoted to the top flight back in 2015, even die-hard fans felt it might be a flash in the pan and they would be straight back down. The fact that they have confounded the doubters is worth around £120 million for every year they stay up. This is comprised of TV revenues, additional commercial income and a lucrative sponsorship deal with – you guessed it – a well known online sports betting and casino site. Now you can see why relegation can hurt the wallet as much as the heart.

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