A new study by EY highlights how the Premier League and its clubs have continued to generate widespread benefits for the economy, society and the entire football pyramid, despite the significant challenges presented by COVID-19.
The analysis reveals that Premier League football contributed £7.6billion to the UK economy during the 2019/20 season, which was suspended for more than three months due to the pandemic. Clubs’ economic activity has grown by 840 per cent since the 1998/99 season.
The League and its clubs generated a total tax contribution of £3.6bn to the UK Exchequer in 2019/20, £1.4bn of which was accounted for by Premier League players. The total tax contribution underpinned by clubs has increased by £3.1bn since 1998/99.
The League and clubs have also delivered substantial employment growth over a prolonged period of time, with 94,000 jobs supported across the UK. The number of club-related jobs has increased from 11,000 in 1998/99 to more than 87,000 in 2019/20, a rise of 650 per cent.
The appeal of Premier League football to fans in the UK and around the world is evident as the report shows there was a cumulative global audience of 3.2bn in 2019/20, double that of the UEFA Champions League. Prior to COVID disruption, stadiums were a record 97.8 per cent full across the League.
This on-pitch success allows continued and increased investment into communities nationally and locally, and football at all levels. The League provided solidarity and parachute payments to 138 EFL and National League clubs, with a total of £455million distributed to other leagues and community football in 2019/20.
EY’s assessment reveals that the Premier League’s total economic contribution remains equal to pre-pandemic levels and the amount generated in 2016/17. This is despite an estimated £1.3bn loss in broadcast and matchday revenues during seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to Premier League matches being played behind closed doors.
EY UK Chief Economist Peter Arnold said: “In the difficult times we have all experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, football has provided moments of excitement and togetherness for many.
“This report looks at the effect of the activities behind those moments and highlights the significant growth in the League’s impact since EY’s first impact assessment of the League and its clubs in 2013/14.
“The League’s global appeal continues to be a key factor in driving its economic impact, and the League plays a significant role at the heart of clubs’ communities. Hundreds of thousands of children, young people and adults benefit from initiatives supported by the League each year and the pandemic has helped pull the role of football within communities across the country into sharper focus than ever before.”