Premier League

Watch: How much is the Premier League worth to the world economy?

21/04/2022
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Did you know that the Premier League makes more money than more than 50 entire countries? In Britain, it makes more than some of the biggest supermarkets chains nationwide.

However much we might prefer to think otherwise, football is a business. That’s a fact. And within the industry, the Premier League is the indisputable leader.

But how big is the Premier League when it comes to finances? How important is it to the British economy? This money machine disguised as a lion is indeed powerful considering it involves only 20 clubs.

Let’s put this into perspective and discover the real economic impact of the Premier League.

How much money does the Premier League make?

The GVA (Gross Value Added) is the amount that a company or sector contributes to the GDP of a country, and according to an analysis carried out by Ernst & Young financial services, the Premier League made a total GVA contribution of £7.6bn ($9.9bn) to the UK GDP in the 2019-20 season.

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Yes, that’s the 2019-20 season, when the Premier league, like the rest of the world, was hit by Covid-19 halfway through. So those figures could be even bigger.

Let’s have a closer look at those numbers:

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Of that £7.6bn ($9.9bn), £3.9bn ($5bn) was generated through “direct impact”, coming directly from the Premier League and its clubs, like matchday and commercial revenue, employees, broadcasting and sponsors.

£1.5bn ($1.9bn) came from “indirect impact”, which is all the economic activity generated through club and Premier League supply chains as a result of the direct impact, like the construction industry or the hospitality sector.

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The last £2.1bn ($2.7bn) was from “induced impact”; all the production and employment generated from the consumption of goods and services, like TV licences or TV engineers.

How much money does the Premier League contribute to the British economy?

In 2020/2021, the UK GDP was approximately £2.2tn ($2.9tn).

The manufacturing sector, for example, contributed 18 per cent of that total. Real Estate represented 11.5% and agriculture 0.6%.

Another of those sectors is Sports & Entertainment, which the Premier League falls into. So how much did this single organisation contribute to the total GDP of the country?

0.33%.

That’s a little bit less than BP, one of the biggest British companies, that represents 0.42% of the national economy, but much more than Tesco, which comes to 0.18%, or Astrazeneca. In 2020, a big year for them, Astrazeneca contributed 0.15% of the UK GDP.

If we compare it to other big football leagues, the Premier League leads the race. The Bundesliga generates roughly €5.1bn (£3.9bn/$6.6bn) per year, and that represents 0.2% of the German economy. La Liga, on the other hand, contributes to 0.1% of the Spanish GDP, with an estimated €1bn (£770m/$1.31bn)

The Premier League is a company, and like any company that does business in the UK, it pays tax.

In the 2019/2020, for example, its business meant a total of £3.6bn ($4.7bn) in tax to the British government. That was enough to pay 2.5% of the total NHS (National Health Service) core budget in 2020.

If the Premier League was a country, how would its finances compare to others?

This number here is the global GDP in 2021: £62.5tn (£82tn)

The Premier League alone contributes 0.01% of that number.

In the International Monetary Fund's list of countries by GDP, the USA is first, then China, while Tajikistan - with a total of £8.1bn ($10bn) – is at position 149.

If the Prem was a country, it would be in 150th position, currently occupied by Guyana with a GDP of £7.4bn ($9.6bn).

It could be called Premierland, or any other name you like, but if the Premier League was an actual sovereign state:

  • It would be the 150th biggest economy in the world, on top of countries like Andorra, San Marino, and the Maldives.
  • Its GDP would be 158 times bigger than Tuvalu, the last country in the list.
  • Its economy would be a little bit more than half of Malta's and a little bit less than half of Iceland's.
  • Compared to the US one? About 2263 times smaller. Still a way to go.

That’s how big the biggest football business in the world is. Bigger than some traditional companies, and even bigger than some countries.

Without any doubts, an important player in the UK economy.

Further reading