The commercial numbers of the Premier League as season 2021/22 gets underway

The 2021/22 English Premier League season began this past weekend, with capacity crowds returning to stadia for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Following on from a previous season which included the majority of games being played behind closed doors, it was a welcome commercial boost for clubs across the league.

According to Richard Masters, the CEO of the Premier League, clubs have posted major losses over the past 18 months, but financially those difficulties have been managed well overall.

“Across the Premier League economy in the last 18 months, we’ve lost about UK£1.5 billion plus in revenue and that creates some significant challenges for clubs to manage and they have done that,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“So, it hasn’t been easy but what I can say is with fans back, with some of the broadcast agreements we have put in place, we have got a more secure footing.

“Not just for the Premier League but for the whole of the professional game who as you know we filter a lot of our revenue down to, into the pyramid and into grassroots. So, it’s good news to everybody.”

Some of those financial woes were self-inflicted however, after the embarrassing European Super League proposal led to England’s ‘big six’ clubs (Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal) incurring fines of US $30.4 million each for their role in the breakaway competition.

It is likely to be the end of such attempts after a new owners’ charter was introduced in May, preventing clubs from signing up to similar breakaway projects.

“I think the charter changes we agreed to in June are an end to this”, Masters told Sky Sports.

“I think it’s not an end to perhaps some of the issues that created it. It was a bad idea, poorly executed and it’s been consigned to the past I believe.

“We are in discussions with those clubs involved and we will put in place rule changes to make sure that these things won’t happen again. We had a lot of support from the government and in particular, from fans, everybody showed what they thought of the concept.”

What the Super League idea highlighted was the disparity between the leagues ‘big six’ and the other 14 clubs in the league.

A Sportico report outlined that the six big English clubs had a valuation of US$3.67 billion each on average last season, with the other 14 clubs in the league valued at US$3.7 billion combined.

According to multiple Sponsorpulse engagement reports, Liverpool was the most engaging club in the Premier League between late 2019 to mid 2021, with 45% of people in the UK engaging with the team at least once in the past 18 months. Manchester United were ranked 2nd with 42% engagement, ahead of Manchester City with 40% and Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all on 39%.

Outside of the UK, the big six clubs continue to engage with a range of overseas markets, some more emphatically than others.

Liverpool’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (54%), South Africa (53%) and Indonesia (52%)

Manchester United’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (59%), Argentina (57%) and South Africa (57%)

Manchester City’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (58%), Argentina (57%) and Mexico (55%)

Arsenal’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (54%), South Africa (53%) and Indonesia (52%)

Tottenham’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Indonesia (50%), South Africa (47%) and China (46%)

Chelsea’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (56%), South Africa (54%) and Indonesia (53%)

The power of these six clubs continues to lift engagement in big markets such as China, India and Indonesia and make the Premier League what it is today.

These three markets all have more than a 50% engagement rate with the Premier League competition overall, which dwarfs Australia’s engagement rate which currently sits at 31%.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football Victoria announce 2021 refund policy

Football Victoria has announced a refund policy that will provide over $1.75 million of refunds to members across the state.

The refunds are based on a formula that take into account the 2021 Football Victoria “No Season” Refund multiplied by the percentage of rounds that were not played.

Football Victoria’s refund policy allocates refunds on both a per player and team basis, with the total refunds being returned to clubs and players totalling in excess of $1.75 million.

Player refunds will be processed via clubs.

The Football Victoria statement announcing the refund policy read:

“Most of our community will recall from both the 2020 and preliminary 2021 policies, that a cost apportionment model is used to generate the relevant refunds for each competition. It is really important to note that FV’s costs are not linear to the season, with an overwhelming proportion of the work to provide football competitions completed prior to the season’s commencement. This is reflected in the preliminary version of the 2021 Fee Refund Policy released pre-season, which contained relevant refunds for a ‘no-season scenario’.

“Based on this cost apportionment model only, no refunds would be payable at this stage of the season. However, FV is acutely aware of the financial impacts to the football ecosystem and its stakeholders. Through this updated policy, we have made a strong commitment to supporting our Clubs and players, at a time when they need it most.

“As a result, we have developed a formula, as below, to deliver funds back to both Clubs and players, to support your football journey and a return to football in 2022. We have applied cost apportionment principles, as represented through the ‘no season’ refund percentages, as well as the percentage of rounds unable to be completed for each competition.”

The announcement also confirmed that Football Victoria would be establishing principles within the Rules of Competition that are better equipped to deal with the consequences of cancelled or partially completed seasons.

“We cannot help but reflect on where our game could have been, if not for the back-to-back season interruptions in 2020 and 2021. While the 2021 season cancellations across the state didn’t come as a surprise to many, we know it doesn’t make it any easier to accept, including what this means for promotion, relegation and awarding champions,” the statement reads.

“In advance of the 2022 season, the Board is committed to ensuring the Rules of Competition reflect a clear set of principles in the event of any future interrupted or incomplete seasons.

“Many Clubs have reinforced a strong desire to play football in any format, when it is safe to do so. The call of the pitch is strong and we will be working with Clubs to provide football in all ways, at venues across the state in spring and summer. We look forward to sharing more information on this shortly when we have direction from the Victorian Government.”

You can access the refund policy HERE.

Sydney FC members to pick and choose membership packs in 2021/22

Sydney FC has introduced an Aussie-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

Sydney FC has introduced an Australian-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

The club and its membership products provider, TPF Sports, will greatly increase member satisfaction and reduce environmental impact. Sydney FC members who sign up for the 2021/22 season will have credits put onto their accounts, allowing them to choose from a variety of Membership card designs and, depending on their package, a variety of personalised items.

Each merchandising item may be customised with different colours and names, allowing for unique bundles based on age, gender, product choice, artwork style, personalisation, years of tender, and a variety of other factors.

Sydney FC Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend hailed the announcement as a big step forward for how the club engages with its members.

“Our new eMber+ platform is a huge step forward and once again Sydney FC is proud to be leading the way in Member engagement,” he said via a club statement,” he said.

“Gone are the days of receiving the same standard Membership pack as everyone else.

“Now you can tailor your package to suit your preferences and how you wish to support the Sky Blues.

“There’s a fantastic range of customisable merchandise available and I know I’m looking forward to my delivery in the coming weeks.”

TPF Sports Director Craig Dyer explains the move is a worldwide first and one of the benefits of the move would be the reduced environmental impact of membership packs, thanks largely in part to the fact that members will only receive merchandise they actually want.

“There are iterations of loyalty and rewards platforms globally,” he said.

“But to the best of our knowledge from 18 to 20 months of development and research, we believe this is the first-ever platform of its kind and certainly the first for sport and membership-based programs.

“Our vision in developing the platform is to revolutionise the long-standing pre-determined assignment of resources to Members by assigning credit. This allows them to redeem merchandise and entitlements they deem relevant to them.

“This platform also has a strong environmental slant, as we are only supplying merchandise and delivering this merchandise to Members who want to redeem it.

“Additionally, almost every product is on-demand, meaning we receive Members’ selection based on products and artwork, print them with selected artwork and personalisation, pick, pack and fulfil directly to the Members door.”

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