Arsenal set to lose at least €14m from Champions League failure
Failure in Europe this season will cost Arsenal at least €14m but also the chance of a potential jackpot well in excess of €95m for any English club that wins the Champions League.
A record-breaking Uefa prize-fund, partially funded for English clubs by the new BT Sport television deal, has meant that this season will be the most costly yet should Arsenal fail to reach the last 16 for the first time since 2000.
Defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos have made that an increasingly real proposition ahead of two matches now against Bayern Munich. Arsenal are currently already guaranteed €12m for reaching the group phase but each win at this stage is now worth €1.5m.
That means the poor performances against Zagreb have already cost Arsenal a potential £2.22m but there is a further £4.44 million at stake in the remaining four group games.
Simply reaching the last 16, as Arsenal have done in each of the past 15 years, is then worth at least €5.5m, with the fund rising through the knockout phase all the way up to €15m for the winners. The most that a club can accumulate from basic prize money is €54.5.
There would also be related ticket income and possible commercial bonuses. Particularly significant for the English clubs, however, is the additional market pool distribution. That is potentially also worth around £30m to the most successful English club after BT Sport doubled what Sky previously paid to show live matches.
This fund is allocated between the four English clubs, according partly to their Premier League finish last season but also their performance in this season’s Champions League. If, as seems possible, Arsenal are the worst performing English club, they will then receive less of this pot.
The loss Champions League money would be likely to have a direct impact on Arsene Wenger’s transfer budget next summer although he has kept back some of his available funds from this year. The English clubs will also receive record domestic broadcast revenues from next year.
As with other income sources, the sheer size of the £5.136bn domestic television deal will ensure that the money earned from Champions League football, especially their performance once group participation has been secured, has relatively less impact on a club’s overall finances.