Could it be true? Could the elite Barclays Premier League be near bankruptcy? Well, not every team is suffering, but for the most part, yes, the top tier soccer league is in trouble. Expenses have finally caught up and some teams are losing as much as £876,700 ($1.1 million) every day. Only five clubs have been able to stay in the black.
What is causing the drop in revenue? The main two culprits are television rights and player salaries. Right now, the money coming into the clubs is not offsetting the player salaries, and that is a problem. Some of the highest paid athletes in the world are on Premier League teams.
EPL Clubs have seen a loss of £2 billion ($2.576 billion) since the 2008-9 season, according to ESPN FC. In that eight years the losses have been solely between revenue and costs. So, what does this mean for the Premier League and soccer? Well, for the league, it could be the beginning of the end. If teams continue to lose money, they will eventually have to shut the doors.
Soccer elsewhere could benefit from the folding of Premier teams. The U.S. Major League Soccer could suddenly find a plethora of elite players looking for teams and MLS would kill to have just a handful of them. It could end up elevating MLS to the level of other premier leagues around the world. But, the world would be without the English Premier League then, and that sucks for soccer fans worldwide. However, it also leaves the door open for a new European League. Teams that are not struggling, like a Manchester United, could stop operations in the Barclays league and move into the Euro League. However, an all European league might kill the Champions League since that is the current all-Euro league, taking the top teams from each premier soccer league and determining the best of the best each year.
Right now it looks bleak for the Barclays Premier League, even with the ongoing U.S. contract with NBC Sports, and the other television rights around the world. It is just not enough money coming in to pay these growing salaries. One question is, how come the EPL is being hit, but Spain’s La Liga is not. La Liga boasts having both the number one paid athlete in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, and the number three paid player, Lionel Messe. La Liga does not get the same coverage the the EPL gets in the U.S., but they must be doing something right to see their league stronger.
What do you think CDA soccer fans? Are you surprised such a major sports league is in financial trouble? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Commentary by Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Premier League