The 2017-18 season is now over for most clubs. However, for Liverpool and Real Madrid there is still a potential nine-figure prize up for grabs as both sides look to secure the Champions League prize money. There’s also the small matter of the Champions League trophy that comes with that.
On Saturday evening, the Champions League 2018 will reach its conclusion with two of the competition’s most successful teams meeting at Kiev’s NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium to fight for the title of champions of Europe.
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The 2018 UEFA Champions League final will kick-off at 7.45pm London time in front of a crowd of 70,000.
The winner will receive the Champions League trophy, a place in next season’s UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. However, it is the considerable prize money that will be of most interest to the two clubs.
How much is the Champions League 2018 worth to clubs?
For a cup competition, the Champions League is highly lucrative. Winning the tournament is worth £42.1 million in prize money. In comparison, this season’s FA Cup winners, Chelsea, received just £3.4 million.
Champions League teams receive more than three times the FA Cup prize money just by qualifying for the European tournament.
A place in the group stage is worth £11 million (€12.7 million), but if a team wins all six of its group games, this could rise to approximately £18.8 million (€21.7 million).
As teams progress through the rounds, they receive additional fees. For example, qualifying from your group and reaching the round of 16 comes with a £5.2 million (€6 million) prize. Reaching the quarter-finals is worth an additional £5.7 million (€6.5 million) and a place in the semi-final comes with another £6.6 million (€7.5 million) reward.
Reaching the final is worth £9.7 million (€11 million), which rises to £13.6 million (€15.5 million) for the team that emerges victorious.
In total, the team that wins Saturday’s final will take home £50.2 million (€57.2 million) in Champions League prize money.
UEFA will pay out a total £1.16 billion (€1.32 billion) to teams that have competed in the Champions League throughout the 2017-18 season.
The winning team will earn upwards of £50 million in performance bonuses alone. However, Champions League teams are also awarded a share of UEFA’s television broadcasting rights income depending on the reputation of their domestic league and the number of games played throughout the tournament.
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For example, while Real Madrid is undeniably a more reputable club that Liverpool, the latter would receive more for a victory on Saturday. This is due to the fact that the Premier League generates more money for UEFA through television deals.
According to Total Sportek, Liverpool will receive £96.5 million (€110 million) should they win the Champions League 2018. In comparison, Real Madrid received £78.5 million (€89.5 million) for winning the tournament last year.
How does the Champions League compare against other competitions?
The Champions League is by far the most lucrative cup competition in the world. With €2.08 billion to be distributed between teams this season, it sits well ahead of other major tournaments such as the Europa League (€400 million) and the FA Cup (€14 million).
Its prize pool even tops that of the World Cup. A total of €340 million will be distributed between teams at the 2018 World Cup this summer.
The Premier League is the only competition with a bigger total prize pot, distributing €2.75 billion between its 20 teams each season. Likewise, the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, three of Europe’s top four leagues, offer their champions more money than the Champions League.
However, due to the nature of league competitions, this isn’t a surprise.
Winning the league requires teams to perform consistently over a longer period of time. All three leagues require teams to play in 38 matches throughout a season, while a run to the Champions League final is just ten matches.
When calculating how much teams get per victory, the Champions League prize money comes out on top. A victory in the Champions League is worth €11 million, compared to €4 million in the Premier League and La Liga.
Champions League prize money – where does this money come from?
According to UEFA’s latest financial report, UEFA generated revenues of €2.84 billion during the 2016-17 season.
As is usually the case in the football world, the vast majority of these funds came from broadcasting rights deals. European club football is considered the best in the world and attracts viewers from almost every continent.
According to data provided by sports market intelligence company Sportcal, UEFA Currently has 172 active deals with 149 media organisations. This grants them permission to broadcast Champions League games via television, internet and mobile. These organisations are based in 83 different countries and regions, from Europe, to Asia, to the Caribbean. All in all, broadcasting rights generate €2.32 billion, approximately 81.7% of UEFA’s total revenue.
Another €458 million (16.1%) came from selling the competition’s commercial rights. According to Sportcal, there were nine active UEFA Champions League sponsorship deals during the 2017-18 season. Brands sponsoring the competition include soft drink manufacturer 7UP, which pays $55 million a season. Brewing company Heineken pays $68.7 million annually to serve as an official partner of the competition.
The Champions League final always attracts a full stadium of loyal supporters, but UEFA makes very little from the occasion. The report shows that just €55.6 million comes from ticket sales and other revenue streams throughout the 124-game tournament.
Aside from the Champions League prize money, how else is this spent?
Despite the organisation’s alleged involvement in the FIFA corruption scandal, UEFA is a not-for-profit organisation. Therefore, it cannot profit from the Champions League’s popularity.
From the total €2.84 billion, €2.12 billion was distributed among teams participating in UEFA competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League. Another €177 million was spent on organising these tournaments and other UEFA events.
Approximately €115.6 million went on employing staff, including referees and match officials.
Europe’s national football associations — such as the English Football Association and German Football Association — received €37.8 million between them.
In total, UEFA made a loss of €6.7 million during the 2016-17 season.