Your chances of winning the UK national lottery are 14 million to one. Fancy a shot at the Euro Millions? Your odds skyrocket to 116.5 million to one.
For the most popular entertainment industry in the world, however, luck plays no part – sound the horn, flash the lights and ready the confetti, because the global sports industry has struck the jackpot.
There’s no playing around when it comes to money
According to an A.T. Kearney report, the worldwide sports industry is now worth between £310-400 billion. Let’s put this into perspective for a moment – one million pounds could buy you a six bedroom chateau in France, four 2015 Ferrari California T’s, or a .0003% stake of Real Madrid FC, yes you read that right: .0003%! That’s how much you’d own if you chose to invest a million pounds in Real Madrid, who Forbes recently rated as the most valuable sports franchise in the world, at a jaw-dropping £2.2 billion.
As the sports industry has exploded in popularity and viewership, so have soaring sponsorship deals and team valuations that seemingly increase overnight. The United States continues to be the perennial powerhouse of TV network deals. Just take a look at the £3.24 billion TV deal the NFL recently penned, or the £1.7 billion deal the NBA tied up with ESPN and TNT.
England’s most popular export, the Premier League, is fighting back against its wealthier American rivals. A new £1.7 billion deal with SKY Sports is due to begin in 2016, which marks a 70% increase over its previous network deal. The 168 matches during the season will cost broadcasters approximately £10.2 million per game to air.
Companies are vying to stake a claim in the rich, sprawling goldmines of sports entertainment. Like their forefathers, these individuals have rushed to carve out expansive swathes of the market, toiling with pickaxe and sieve to turn modern football clubs into powerful global brands. The bourgeoning response from broadcasters and sponsors underlines just how influential these brands have become.
Chevrolet recently broke ground by coming to terms with Manchester United over a seven year multi-million sponsorship deal. It demonstrates in rather stark terms just how valuable and attractive an item like the Premier League is, even for foreign companies. In my opinion, Chevy’s deal with Manchester United stands as a poignant representation of the Premier League’s global success. The fact that a company would invest such a massive sum of money into a market where they’ve traditionally performed poorly, speaks volumes about the global appeal of the Premier League.
All this money and increased revenue is great, but can we find out where it’s actually going? Building on that – is it actually helping the game?
In a lot of cases, teams are investing their money directly into the club itself, paying higher wages to players and coaching staff and improving training facilities.
A football salary website – www.whatfootballersearn.com/ - takes a humorous but insightful look at the massive sums of money these stars earn, with a fun component that lets you track how much your favourite player has earned in the time you’ve been on the website. To put this in perspective, Wayne Rooney earned £4,264 in the time it took me to write this article.
At the end of the day, sport has a unique ability to capture our imagination and toy with our hearts. Do these modern day saints and heroes deserve such extravagant salaries? That’s a question for another day. Ultimately, the money will keep pouring in and TV broadcast and sponsorship deals will only increase.
As David Bailey said, “To get rich you have to be making money while you sleep.” For those invested in the sports world – athletes, owners and team managers – I think they will sleep easy tonight.