LaLiga, organising body of the top two divisions of Spanish football, has reported its member clubs have significantly cut losses while increasing revenue, boosted by a major rise in matchday income following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
LaLiga has issued its Economic Report for the 2021-22 season, in which Spanish professional football practically recovered to pre-pandemic figures in terms of revenue, totalling €4.838.1bn (£4.23bn/$5.33bn).
LaLiga last year said that its member clubs lost €892m during the 2020-21 season, with revenues falling by 24.1% due to the effects of COVID-19 during the most acute phase of the global pandemic. LaLiga clubs together achieved total revenues of €3.818bn in the 2020-21 season, 24.1% less than in the 2019-20 campaign (€5.065.5bn), with declines in matchday revenue (-53%) and player transfer fees (-52%) the most significant factors.
The aggregate net result for 2021-22 was still a loss (€140.1m), but LaLiga stressed this compares favourably to the other major European leagues. It stated the Bundesliga in Germany suffered a €205m loss; the LFP, which operates France’s Ligue 1 and 2, a €601m loss; the English Premier League and Championship around a €1.005bn loss; and Italy’s Serie A and B approximately a €1.15bn loss.
LaLiga said: “This data confirms the sustainable model of LaLiga and the Bundesliga, in contrast to other models based on the absence of adequate economic controls and on constant losses of their clubs, funded with systematic and huge contributions from their shareholders, which means undeniable financial doping that negatively impacts the rules of fair play and distorts the competition.”
The aggregate EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) of the Spanish competition, both before and after the results of player transfers, was again positive (€23.9m and €280.8m, respectively). This is a significant improvement, but still far from the annual records achieved before the pandemic.
LaLiga added: “In this regard, it is important to highlight that the long-term negative effects derived from the health crisis will take a few years to be completely overcome, a situation shared by the main European competitions as a whole, although LaLiga’s overall situation is particularly favourable in comparative terms.”
LaLiga’s revenue streams for 2021-22 broke down as €1.696bn (broadcast), €931m (commercial) and €884.2m (matchday). The latter registered by far the biggest year-on-year increase (+123%), as a result of the widespread return of fans to the stadiums and the lifting of the COVID-19 capacity restrictions over the first part of the season.
In terms of forecasts for the current 2022-23 season, LaLiga is projecting a return to a slight profit (€27m), with revenues rising to €4.96bn.