More money does not mean more quality, at least as far as the Premier League is concerned. The Premier League might market itself as the most exciting league in the world, but is not the league where the best players in the world play, despite paying more money on wages than any other league in the world.
Premier League wage bills have crossed the £2 billion for the first time, meaning England’s elite clubs paid more to their players than their counterparts in La Liga and Serie A combined. And that is before the Premier League’s new TV deals begin this summer, which are expected to drive wages even higher!
The data from Deloitte’s annual review of football finance shows that in 2014-15, Premier League clubs spent £2.04bn on wages, which is more than Italy (£986m) and Spain (£977m) added together.
Premier League clubs can afford such high wages because of their income (primarily from TV). The 2014-15 numbers show the Premier League’s 20 clubs had income of £3.3bn in that period, way ahead of Germany’s Bundesliga, in second place by income on £1.8bn.
Income for the English clubs will be around £3.7bn for the season just finished and for the 2016-17 when the new three-year £8.3bn TV deals begin, it is expected to move closer to £4.5bn.
Premier League clubs next season will have average revenues of more than £220m so if the ratio of spending on wages against income remains similar to now, total salary bills will be around £2.5bn. That will be close to what the clubs in Spain, Italy and Germany will pay combined!
Despite such high wage bills, the Premier League is so awash in money that the Deloitte report shows the Premier League is the most profitable league in Europe with 17 of 20 clubs posting profits. And Deloitte does not see this changing in the foreseeable future:
“The pace of football’s financial growth in two and a half decades is staggering,’ says Dan Jones of Deloitte.
“By half-time of the second televised Premier League game next year, more broadcast revenue will have been generated than during the whole of the First Division season 25 years ago. It is particularly reassuring to see that clubs are looking to spend on improving stadia and infrastructure.”
At the bottom and middle level the Premier League clubs are able to offer wages that are much higher than their European counterparts. For example the typical player in England makes around £1.8m a year basic (£34,000 a week) rising to £2.3m including routine bonuses (£44,000 a week). That is a lot more than what a player can make in Italy or Spain.
What the Premier League have been unable to do, despite their riches, is attract the best players in the world. The Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, etc who want £18-20m a year. Will that change with the new TV deal? Will we see the first £500,000-a-week player in the next 2-3 years?