Promoted clubs – introducing the “new kids” in the big five leagues

10.08.2021

Football in Europe’s top leagues is returning to the pitch, with hopes that the new season will also offer some consolation for the previous losses caused by the Covid pandemic.

According to KPMG Football Benchmark estimates, the 2019/20 season saw annual aggregate operating revenue losses of EUR 1.9-2bn in Europe’s top five leagues, while clubs from the remaining 50 European top divisions are projected to lose approximately EUR 800m in operating income compared to revenues for the previous season, due to diminishing income in all three major revenue streams: Matchday income dried up as games were forced to be played behind closed doors, broadcasting revenues were reduced due to a number of matches played after the financial year-end closure and to the rebates paid to TV partners following the degradation of product quality, and commercial revenues dropped as a consequence of merchandise stores closing and the lack of sponsorship activation opportunities. Primarily, crowds are now expected to be allowed back into stadia, even if only partially, to help clubs reduce liquidity burdens and strengthen their overall financial positions.

Amongst the 'Big 5' leagues, Serie A and Ligue 1 were the most ravaged by the pandemic, with matchday, broadcasting and commercial revenues all expected to significantly decrease in 2019/20. Available data from the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) indicates matchday revenues decreased the most in relative terms in the Bundesliga (-30%) compared to other 'Big 5' leagues, given the high utilisation rate of German stadia. However, the German top flight kept aggregate broadcasting revenues stable, thanks to the termination of the football season before most clubs' financial year-end. Interestingly, LaLiga clubs’ accounts show only a narrow 5% loss in broadcasting revenues, mainly thanks to benefits from the commencement of a new, more remunerative broadcasting cycle in the 2019/20 season, partially offset by reported rebates to broadcasters. Meanwhile, in the Premier League both matchday and broadcasting revenues decreased since English clubs also paid out rebates to broadcasting partners.

The English Premier League and the French Ligue 1 are anticipating full capacity in their stadia for the upcoming season. In both countries, however, fans will likely need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative Covid-19 test carried out within 48 hours of a game. In Spain, it is expected to fill stadia by 40%, while the guideline will be re-evaluated in early September. Italian Serie A clubs will be able to utilise 50% of stadia capacity. Fans will also be required to show a Covid-19 Green Pass to enter the stadium, proving that they have either been vaccinated against the virus or recovered from infection. Bundesliga clubs can increase stadia crowds to a maximum of 50% capacity, with a maximum of 25,000 given access.

The newly promoted clubs in the top leagues are now entering the new campaign after two Covid-impacted seasons with the prospect of 1st division participation helping them increase their revenues on all fronts. Hereby, we provide an overview of the newcomer sides in the big five leagues.

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England

The English Premier League hopes to return to normal, primarily looking forward to full stadia in the 2021/22 season, after the British government in May decided fans would be allowed to return to sporting events. It is expected to offer some relief to the massive losses accumulated—in the 2019/20 season alone, EPL clubs registered an aggregate net loss in excess of GBP 900m.

The upcoming season kicks off on 13 August, when newly promoted Brentford, who return to the top tier after a 74-year absence, host Arsenal. Promoted teams also include Norwich City and Watford, both returning to the 1st division after one year. Meanwhile, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion have been relegated to the Championship.

Read more about the promoted Premier League clubs.


Germany

Top-flight football in Germany will return on Friday, 13 August, when champions Bayern Munich visit Borussia Monchengladbach; the season will be completed on 14 May. The 2021/22 campaign is the 59th edition after Bayern lifted their 31st overall and 9th consecutive domestic championship title last season, having underlined their dominance in German football.

While two bedrocks of German football, Werder Bremen and Schalke 04, were relegated to the 2nd division, two clubs with similar, rich traditions replace them: VfL Bochum and Greuther Fürth.

Read more about the promoted Bundesliga clubs.


Italy

The new campaign in Italy’s Serie A will kick-off on the weekend of 21 August, welcoming promoted sides Empoli, Salernitana and Venezia, whereas Benevento, Crotone and Parma were relegated to Serie B.

While Lega Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino’s has urged Roma's government to open stadia at full capacity for the upcoming season, according to latest reports, stadia in Italy are likely to increase crowds to a maximum of 50% capacity.

Read more about the promoted Serie A clubs.


Spain

Atletico Madrid surprised most in Spain by winning LaLiga in the past season. Football in the Spanish top-flight also begins this weekend, without relegated sides Eibar, Huesca and Real Valladolid, who have been replaced by promoted clubs Espanyol, Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano. 

Read more about the promoted LaLiga clubs.


France

The French top league already started last Sunday. The new season is running without relegated sides Dijon FCO and Nîmes, and has welcomed promoted clubs Clermont Foot and Troyes. The new joiners saw a promising start: while Clermont Foot secured a 2-0 victory over Bordeaux, Troyes almost managed to draw against French giants PSG, losing in a narrow game 1-2. 

Read more about the promoted Ligue 1 clubs.