Premier League clubs are set for a combined revenue loss of around £1billion this season because of the disruption caused by COVID-19, according to analysis by accountancy firm Deloitte.
The Premier League will restart on 17 June after a three-month break enforced by players and staff testing positive for the virus and the wider lockdown.
But, despite the intention to complete all remaining fixtures, club revenue will still be hit hard.
Almost £500m is permanently lost, according to Deloitte’s analysis. This is primarily due to the loss of match day revenues and rebates on broadcast and commercial contracts.
The remainder – more than £500m – will be deferred until the 2020/21 financial year, owing to the delay of almost a quarter of the season beyond the 30 June deadline.
Dan Jones, partner and head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte,said: “We expect the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to cause significant revenue reduction and operating losses across European football.
“Football returning – in a safe and sensible way – is clearly important to limiting the financial impact that the pandemic has had.
“Leagues across Europe have been responding in different ways and at different paces. The success of each league’s return, and the strength of each one’s relationships with broadcasters and commercial partners, will have a potentially significant and lasting impact on the financial strength of clubs and leagues.”
There is no certainty over when fans may be able to return to stadiums again. A survey of 511 epidemiologists conducted by the New York Times revealed that 62% believed it would be more than a year before fans could return to stadiums in the USA and it is a similar picture in the UK.
The landscape further down the football league pyramid where teams rely on gate receipts is bleak, with some clubs warning they could be forced out of business if fans cannot return to grounds before next year.
But the picture is more optimistic for Europe’s football giants with Deloitte’s analysis showing they were in rude health before the pandemic struck.
The ‘big five’ European leagues of England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy generated a record €17bn (£15bn) in revenue in the 2018/19 season, a 9% increase from the previous year.
Premier League clubs’ revenues rose to more than £5billion (£5.2bn) for the first time, an increase of 7%, driven by growth in the money redistributed by European football’s governing body, UEFA, to English clubs.
The most recent Premier League game was played on 9 March when Aston Villa were defeated 4-0 by Leicester. Dean Smith’s side had lost their last four fixtures before the break and face a battle to avoid relegation.
They will be the first team in action after the resumption when they face Sheffield United on 17 June. All Premier League players and club staff are now tested twice a week for coronavirus.
The latest round of testing, the seventh in total, saw 1,213 tests conducted of which one individual tested positive.