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Why the Champions League is so important

In case you wondered why making the Champions League group stages is so important, consider the huge revenue windfall for teams that make the competition.

The Champions League will generate a record $1.55 billion in marketing and television revenues for clubs and organizer UEFA this season, that is a 33% increase from last year.

The 32 teams who make the group stages will share a little over a $1B. That does not include any revenue teams makes from ticket sales or merchandise.

To break it down, each of the 32 teams is guaranteed $10.1 million before they kick a ball in the competition. On top of the $10.1 million teams will earn a bonus of $1.14 million for each victory in the group stages, with bonuses rising the further a team goes in the competition. A team which won all six of its group matches and went on to win the Champions League would be guaranteed $44.4 million, plus a share of television rights.

Reigning champion FC Barcelona earned almost exactly that amount last season with television money included. Runner-up Manchester United got the biggest payout, $53.8 million, in part because England is a more valuable television market than Spain.

To put that $53.8 million in perspective, Manchester United earned more from their Champions League run last week than almost half the teams in the Premier League had in total revenue!

The Champions League playoff games finish up tomorrow and Wednesday and then the group stage draw will be made Thursday in Monaco. The first Champions League matches will be played September 15th.