Behind the roars and cheers of excited fans, and the adrenaline that accompanies the action on the pitch is the big business that is modern soccer. In fact, you could go as far as saying that soccer is a business. Billions of dollars are required every year to keep the great soccer juggernaut rolling. Elite football clubs in Europe earn tens of millions of dollars each year as profits.
And being a top-earning club tends to have a ripple effect when it comes to generating income. For one, these wealthy clubs view themselves as global brands rather than just parts of their community’s heritage. The global exposure they seek earns them lucrative sponsorships that permit them to handle hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
A prime example of such a club is the world-famous English soccer club Manchester United, worth about 2 billion dollars. The club’s towering global popularity is cemented by its over 300 million followers. This reputation helps the club get high value sponsorships from large multinational brands keen to benefit from a relationship with the club.
Quite accurately, mainstream soccer relies on money changing hands. Sponsors pay clubs, fans pay for tickets, clubs pay their players and staff, and so forth. In this way, some clubs are able to transact in millions of dollars each week. In fact, the most critical aspects of a soccer club are determined by money.
For instance, wealthy owners have to part with copious amounts of money to own clubs. Additionally, to get the naming rights for the stadiums, major sponsors have to pay lots of money, and other sponsors have to do their part financially to have their brand names appear on jerseys and other soccer gear.
For instance, Barclaycard had to pay nearly 50 million pounds to have a league in their name. Broadcasters often part with billions of dollars to have exclusive rights to air the Premier League for a period of 5 years.
More importantly, money plays a significant role in how powerful a club can be in major competitions, as it dictates the quality of players the club can buy and get on loan. And since football leagues are the most watched in the world, the scale of these transactions is quite enormous.
Still, money was not always all-important in the direction of global soccer. At the moment, top players get paid phenomenal salaries for their services, and transfers occur quite liberally. Previously, there were limits on how much a player could be payed, and player transfers were highly restricted.
But now, this has completely changed, and clubs have to pay their best players really well to hold to them, since there is a lot of money to be made by being one of the leading clubs in the leagues. There was a time when the most players could get from their golden skills on the pitch was popularity, but money has now changed this completely.
The big business of soccer has also changed some traditional aspects of soccer, especially in England, such as fantasy premier league, where the game was largely part of the cultural fabric. For instance, while initially stadia carried the name of their communities, corporations can now buy the right to have a stadium named after their brand. A case in point is Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
On the face of it, people still love soccer for the same old reason: it’s a beautiful game that brings people and communities together. While this is obviously still the case, especially now that soccer is a global phenomenon, the game has also become big business, a trend that shows no signs of changing any time soon. The big business of soccer might get even bigger over time.