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How the Premier League is conquering global markets

How the Premier League is conquering global markets
Thursday, 10 November 2016 By Austin Houlihan

In this series of feature blogs, the Sports Business Group at Deloitte offer their views on some key activities in the Premier League and the global football markets. This first blog examines the Premier League’s continued growth in the value; how it is performing across global markets; its growth drivers; and the competition for broadcasting rights among established players and new emerging media platforms.


Continued revenue growth among Europe’s top leagues

European club football’s remarkable revenue growth is set to continue, and in some cases accelerate, over the next five years, fuelled by continuing increases in media rights fees for top-tier domestic leagues and UEFA’s top club competitions.

Commentators have regularly questioned whether this media rights growth can continue, but again nearly every major domestic league’s negotiations for the next rights cycle resulted in substantial revenue growth. What is as marked as overall media rights growth, is the difference in media rights revenues being generated by domestic leagues.

The Premier League enjoys a vast revenue advantage through its domestic rights deals led by Sky and BT which will deliver over double the value of the next highest generating leagues, Serie A and La Liga.

Even more than domestic rights though, it is the Premier League’s earning potential through international markets which sets it apart.


Global dominance of the Premier League

The £1.1 billion per season that the Premier League will generate from international (non-UK) markets for the three seasons from 2016/17, makes the league comfortably the world’s highest earning sports league from media rights in non-domestic markets. This is well over double the revenues generated by the next highest league, Spain’s La Liga, which itself concluded vastly increased deals for the three seasons from 2015/16. The major US leagues don’t come close in terms of media rights revenues from international (non-US) markets.

Regional gains

As interesting as the overall growth itself, is the regions which are driving this growth.

All regions delivered double digit revenue growth in the most recent negotiations. The Premier League’s popularity in Asia remains huge, and the region continues to be a key market in contributing revenues. But whereas Asia fueled overall rights fee growth in previous cycles, with growth from territories such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, these markets have slowed somewhat, and – whilst they still remain core – another crop of markets are driving growth, some in Asia and some elsewhere.

Asia media revenues increased c.10%, whilst other regions enjoyed higher rates of growth. European revenues increased by c.75%, and now contribute a similar proportion of the PL’s overall international media rights value to Asia, at around a third. Substantial increases were achieved in Scandinavia and France in particular.

Elsewhere, the US (NBC) and Sub-Saharan African (Supersport) license values grew rapidly, and are now amongst the top five licensees by revenue contribution, the former through a six year deal through to 2021/22. 


The Premier League’s virtuous circle of growth

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Written by

Austin Houlihan

Austin Houlihan

Austin Houlihan is a Director in the Sports Business Group with over ten years of experience working in the sports business sector. He has considerable experience working on strategic, media and commercial development assignments with governing bodies, clubs, and other organisations in the UK and internationally across a number of sports. Austin is currently the Programme Director for the IRFU’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. 

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