It began on 3 July when Vikingur of the Faroe Islands took on Gomel of Belarus and Shkendija 79 of the Republic of Macedonia played Northern Ireland's Portadown. And on 15 May next year, the UEFA Europa League will finally stagger to its climax, when the last two remaining teams battle it out in the final at the Amsterdam Arena. By that time, 193 clubs will have taken part, from the first preliminary rounds through to the qualifying rounds, the play-offs,
the group stage and the knockout phase. Last year it was Atlético Madrid who lifted the cup, beating Spanish rivals Athletic Bilbao.
This is the fourth year of the competition, which is essentially a new iteration of the old UEFA Cup, expanded to allow more clubs to have the opportunity to play in European competition. One result of this expansion has been the Europa League's wearying format — for instance, a successful run to this year's final for Liverpool would mean playing 19 matches in total, equivalent to half a Premier League season. It was this proliferation of matches that led former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp to describe the competition as a "nightmare".
But despite such criticism, it has proved a moneyspinner for UEFA, thanks to sponsorship deals and the repackaging of broadcast rights, and the Europa League now generates around four times more revenue than the UEFA Cup did. The majority of this money is passed on to the competing clubs.
Exactly how much each club makes out of
the competition is of course dependent on their success but it is also subject to a complex distribution method. UEFA estimates that gross commercial revenue from media rights, sponsorship and advertising for this season's Europa League
will be around €225m. It will top this up with another €40m and the competing clubs will then share €208.75m of the total pot of €265m (the rest going towards organisational and administrative costs).
So how is the money divided? €125.25m is paid out on a sliding scale, match by match, from €100,000 for getting through a qualifying round to €1m for reaching a semi-final. The winners pick up €5m and the runners-up €2.5m. The most a team can receive in this way is €9.9m.
The remainder of the prize money, known as the market pool, amounts to €83.5m and is distributed according to the proportional value of each television market represented by the clubs that feature from the group stage onwards. The amounts are not insignificant, especially for teams from countries whose broadcasters have added most to the pot — such as Spain. Last year's winners, Atlético Madrid, received nearly €4.3m from the pool, which was only about €1m short of the rest of their winnings.
Of course, the sums on offer in the Europa League pale into insignificance when compared to the riches on offer in its big brother, the Champions League — last year's winners, Chelsea, pocketed a total of €59.935m. Nevertheless, for those clubs not preoccupied with Champions League qualification or a relegation dogfight, the competition can light up an otherwise uneventful season. And, as
a report by Deloitte pointed out earlier this year, success can provide much needed revenue for many Premier League clubs.
blog comments powered by