Diversification of stadium revenue helps European football growth

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The utilisation of stadiums beyond matchdays has helped the European football market achieve 16% growth to a new height of €35.3bn (£29.5bn/$37.4bn) according to Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2024.

The report analyses the finances of the 2022-23 season and found that diversifying income streams using venues has boosted the industry’s value, with the aggregate commercial revenue of clubs increasing by €1.2bn to €7.6bn.

“Clubs are investing in enhanced stadium quality and capacity to meet elevated demand and fan expectations,” read the review.

“Stadia are increasingly being viewed as year-round entertainment venues that can attract audiences beyond just matchdays, through avenues such as other live events, stadium tours, and food and beverage services.

“Recently or soon to be completed redevelopments include those at VfB Stuttgart’s and Atalanta BC’s stadia, with the former providing new and improved hospitality facilities and sound equipment, and the latter increasing capacity and modernising the infrastructure.”

Traditionally, the largest share of a club’s revenue has come from broadcasting. However, a slower rise in broadcast income in recent years has prompted organisations to seek greater control over their revenue and its growth.

Record matchday and commercial revenue generated in 2022-23, of €2.8bn and €7.6bn respectively, suggests that efforts to diversity are proving successful.

Some of the biggest gains in commercial revenue were seen in lower divisions and women’s football.

There was a 21% uplift in commercial revenue among English Football League Championship clubs last season to £199m as “clubs are increasingly exploring ways to generate greater commercial revenues, viewing their stadia as year-round, multi-purpose entertainment venues.”

The England women’s team’s success at the European Championships in 2022 supported a 50% growth in Women’s Super League clubs’ revenue, which hit £48m in the 2022-23 season.

Using football as a catalyst for economic growth and social benefits has also been seen in order to attract investment, boost the visitor economy, create jobs, and improve social outcomes.

“Investment in clubs and stadia can attract further investment to surrounding neighbourhoods,” read the report.

“Local governments and stakeholders can collaborate with clubs and their owners to provide supplementary infrastructure investment, such as transportation and community facilities, to drive additional financing and boost economic returns through better utilisation of stadia.

“For instance, Luton Town announced the development of a new stadium at the Power Court site, highlighting that it would be accompanied by a ‘new town quarter for Luton with 1,200 homes, leisure, restaurants, bars, retail and community space’.”

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