‘The first bil­lion-pound game’

Irish Examiner - Sport - - SOCCER/WORLD OF SPORT -

The Premier League will wit­ness its first ‘bil­lion­pound game’ to­mor­row when Manch­ester United visit Ar­se­nal, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial an­a­lysts Vysy­ble. The claim is based on the com­bined turnover of the two ri­vals, with Ar­se­nal post­ing rev­enues of £424m (€481) in 2016/17 while United earned a record £581m (€660), tak­ing the clubs’ to­tal to £1.05bn (€1.13 bn). For both clubs, th­ese num­bers were dou­bledigit per­cent­age in­creases on 2015/16.

In a state­ment, Vysy­ble’s Roger Bell said: “This is a re­mark­able achieve­ment for the Premier League in terms of re­flect­ing the suc­cess in driv­ing rev­enues via lu­cra­tive TV rights deals.” Bell, how­ever, points out the huge sums com­ing into the top flight do not trans­late into prof­its.

All Premier League clubs spend huge sums on trans­fer fees and wages and this eats into end of busi­ness year prof­its con­sid­er­ably.

Vysy­ble also be­lieves the clubs — and many fi­nan­cial an­a­lysts — fail to take into ac­count the true cost of do­ing busi­ness and are ac­tu­ally run­ning up eco­nomic losses.

“This is part of a longer-term trend whereby clubs in gen­eral are find­ing it very dif­fi­cult, de­spite their record rev­enue levels, to gen­er­ate value and achieve an eco­nomic profit, which is where all the costs of do­ing busi­ness are ac­counted for, in­clud­ing taxes,” he said. How­ever, Ar­se­nal’s and Manch­ester United’s eco­nomic losses are rel­a­tively “mod­est”, ac­cord­ing to Bell, at £4.2m (€4.8m)and £16.3m (€18.5m), re­spec­tively.

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