- UEFA Champions League winners since 2011/12 all had total staff costs in excess of €200m in the season of their success.
- Trend continued by FC Barcelona – the winner of this year’s UEFA Champions League - who had total wage costs of almost €250m in 2013/14, with the club projecting to spend over €270m in 2014/15.
- Three out of the four UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in the 2014/15 season were already spending above €200m on total staff costs in 2013/14.
- Juventus, the latest runner up in UEFA Champions League, have been dominant in their domestic league since 2011/12 with total wage expenditure of less than €200m.
As the 2014/15 season draws to a close, analysis from KPMG’s Sports practice suggests that, whilst success at domestic level across the European ‘big five’ leagues is possible with total wage expenditure of less than €200m, it is proving increasingly difficult to become European champion without going above this level.
The continuation of this recent trend was observed when FC Barcelona became European champion for the fifth time in June 2015. This followed victories by Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC in the previous three seasons – all of whom had total staff costs in excess of €200m in the season of their UEFA Champions League success.
Analysis of the runner up on each of these occasions reveals that each one had total staff costs below €200m, with Club Atletico de Madrid (€113m) and Borussia Dortmund (€106m), who reached the previous two UEFA Champions League finals, substantially below this threshold.
Juventus, the latest runner up in the UEFA Champions League, have been dominant in their domestic league, retaining the title for four seasons consecutively, and yet have consistently paid less than €200m per year in total staff costs.
Whilst in an individual season the combination of domestic league success with total staff costs below €200m, is not unique as it has been achieved recently by Montpellier HSC, Borussia Dortmund, and Club Atletico de Madrid, it is the regularity of this feat by Juventus since 2011/12 which makes it special.
However, domestic success is one thing, but converting this on to a European level, whilst not spending above €200m per year in total staff costs, appears to be a more challenging proposition, as the chart below illustrates.
Total staff costs of UEFA Champions League finalists (2012-2015)
Source: Individual club’s financial statements; footballbenchmark.com
Note (*): The total staff costs of FC Barcelona and Juventus FC are as reported in their financial statements for the 2013/14 season. Final year-end figures for the 2014/15 season are not yet published.
Whilst the financial results of the 2014/15 season are not yet available, three out of the four UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in 2014/15 season were already spending above €200m on total staff costs in 2013/14.
The UEFA Champions League winners, FC Barcelona, were already spending almost €250m in 2013/14, with a projection by the club in their last financial statements that total staff expenditure would be over €270m in 2014/15. At Juventus, the club reported growth in total staff cost of over 6% in the first nine months of 2014/15 which, if continued in the last quarter of the financial year, would take them to a final year end figure close to €200m.
These initial observations of total staff costs, as set out above, prompt two immediate questions:
- Does the additional number of games necessary to win the UEFA Champions League require a larger squad and, hence, a higher total wage bill?; and
- In terms of the performance of Juventus since 2011/12, to what extent has the competitiveness of Serie A been affecting their total wage expenditure?
Further investigation of these questions, as well as other analysis of industry data, can be undertaken by KPMG’s Sports practice. The subject matter experts within the group can also assist stakeholders assess and interpret the potential impact on their organisations of the results from a particular piece of research, identify reasons why a specific trend is being observed, or ascertain potential solutions and future scenarios.