UEFA’s Club Finance report details increased stadium investment

Featured image credit: Everton

UEFA’s new European Club Finance and Investment Landscape Report has revealed that top-division clubs’ gate revenues totalled €3.1bn (£2.6bn/$3.4bn) in 2022, with the report also highlighting the increased investment in stadium projects.

On the infrastructure front, UEFA said the increased investment in fixed assets reported by top-division clubs in 2022 was a “tentative sign” that investors had started supporting infrastructure development projects again.

UEFA said that 12 stadium projects were completed in 2023 – the same number as 2022. The report claimed that more than €1bn has been newly invested in fixed assets in 2022.

Three clubs accounted for €300m of stadium investment in 2022. Premier League clubs again invested the most money in fixed assets in 2022, with Everton accounting for half of the total amount invested by those clubs as it builds a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock (pictured).

A review of aggregate investment between 2018 and 2022 indicates that the 20 Premier League clubs invested just over €2.5bn in tangible fixed assets over that period, with the other 76 clubs in the ‘Big 5’ leagues investing just €2.1bn between them.

UEFA said this represented a continuation of longer-term trends, while also reflecting the levels of stadium ownership among English clubs.

Levels of investment in tangible fixed assets increased in 2023 among early-reporting clubs, whose new investments totalled more than €800m, up from around €500m in 2022. The two clubs with the highest overall wage bills, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, invested a combined total of more than €230m in their stadiums and training facilities, while Lyon, LASK, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur invested more than €50m each in fixed assets in 2023.

Fan attendance

The 2022 gate revenue figure represents a five-fold increase on the 2021 figure, which was heavily impacted by restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 figure was, however, still 7% down on the pre-pandemic record of €3.3bn posted in 2019.

Although most leagues operated at full stadium capacity in 2022, UEFA noted that German and Spanish clubs still faced some crowd restrictions. England and Germany comfortably posted the largest attendance figures and posted median gate revenues of €25m and €12m, respectively.

France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands each posted median gate revenues between €5m and €7m. Large gate revenues generated by Spain’s biggest clubs resulted in the country having the second highest average and aggregate gate receipts, but only the fourth highest median.

Similarly, aggregate receipts in Scotland primarily reflect the gate revenue of Celtic and Rangers. UEFA cited the example of Switzerland whose gate revenues were more evenly spread, with the country boasting the seventh highest median.

Early-reporting clubs’ gate revenues increased strongly in 2023, rising by more than €700m or 32%, owing to the lifting of the final pandemic-related restrictions. According to UEFA, an all-time record of 209 million fans attended top-tier league matches in Europe in 2022-23, with a further 32 million attending cup matches.

Some 84% of early-reporting clubs saw increased gate revenues in 2023, with their aggregate total of €2.6bn representing a 23% increase on the pre-pandemic figure of €2.1bn posted in 2019.

Seven clubs – Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Arsenal – reported gate revenues of more than €100m in 2023, with Liverpool set to rejoin in 2024 following the completion of its Anfield expansion project.