Explained: How EPL clubs can spend 4x the other four major leagues combined

Premier League clubs spent a record £815m on acquisitions in transfer window

The January 2023 transfer window was unlike any other as it was record breaking on a number of levels.

Not only was the British transfer record broken by free spending Chelsea when they purchased former Liverpool target Enzo Fernandez for over £106m, but Premier League clubs spent a record eye-watering £815m on player acquisitions in the transfer window. This amount was almost double the previous record of £430m (spent in 2018) and almost triple the 2022 January window (£295m).

And this spend was even greater than the total spend of all the other leagues in Europe combined.

With talks about the European Super League still being pursued by the likes of at least Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, there’s a real fear within Europe that their leagues will become feeder leagues to the English Premier League.

But how has it reached the stage that even the biggest clubs in Europe can’t compete with the relegation contenders in the English Premier League. The following two images tell the story.

Research conducted by Paul Macdonald from stats website Football Critic clearly indicates that the difference in television broadcast rights are what sets the EPL apart from the rest of the pack.

The chart above shows how much more money the EPL makes from their domestic broadcast rights (from the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon among others). As you can see, it’s roughly double what the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A make from their domestic rights.

However, the biggest jump is in the international broadcast rights, as you can see from the chart above. The gulf in difference is immense, with La Liga being closest to the EPL but at still less than 50% of what the EPL makes. The likes of Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 make less than 6x what the EPL makes.

This means that the EPL is making circa €4bn from their broadcast rights, with much of that money going to the EPL teams who are gaining a large financial advantage over their European rivals.

As a simple case study, Chelsea took their winter spending to close to half a billion euros and many people want to know. Extraordinary figures at even the best of times. By comparison, the four other major leagues in Europe spent a combined total of €255M, down from €396M in 2022, as pointed out by Tom Alnutt of The Times.

That means Chelsea Football Club spent more in January than all the four other major leagues in Europe combined.

Amortisation, which spreads out payments over the duration of contracts has helped Chelsea. They have signed players on unusually long deals that allow them to spread out payments. UEFA are set to bring in tighter rules that allow clubs to spread out payments for a maximum of 5 years.

Mykhailo Mudryk signed for Chelsea on an 8 1/2-year deal. Under FFP rules the Ukranian’s contract will be valued at around £11M per year. If Mudryk signed a five-year-deal it would have worked out at approximately £16M per season.

Wesley Fofana joined on a seven-year deal, Benoit Badiashile signed a six-and-a-half-year contract.

However, this has all been enabled partially because of the stupendous amount of money that the owners know they’ll make the broadcast rights. And if the European leagues do not do something about the value of their own television rights deal in relation to this, then the gulf will get even bigger and more dramatic.

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