€3bn record revenue for English Premier League, as Europe lags behind

The English Premier League has generated record revenues and could be worth double the amount of its European competitors within two years, according to a new study.

A mammoth €3.9bn revenue was recorded by the English top flight in 2013-14, with the nearest challenger, the German Bundesliga, some €1.6bn behind.

Just five European clubs generated more from domestic broadcasting rights than the Premier League's bottom club.

Cardiff City, the Premier League's bottom club in 2013-14, received £58m (€79m) in domestic broadcasting money, more than both wealthy French champions PSG and German giants Bayern Munich.

This figure was only eclipsed by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Italian champions Juventus and the two Milanese clubs, AC Milan and Internazionale.

Spain's La Liga lagged behind the top two leagues with just 3% revenue growth, though auditors Deloitte predict the Spanish league will overtake its German rival within two years as a new broadcasting deal kicks in.

The top five European leagues generated a cumulative revenue of €11.3bn - some €4bn more than the €7.2bn tranche of bailout funds Greece is seeking from its international creditors.

The revenue explosion in English football was due in large part to broadcasting rights, which generated 54% of the league's total revenue. Continued growth is predicted after the top division signed a new TV deal worth more than £5bn (€6.8bn) in February, a 71% increase on the previous deal. The new deal takes effect in 2016.

Austin Houlihan, senior manager at Deloitte's Sports Business Group, predicts that the Premier League's revenue could rise to a giant £4.4bn (€6bn) in the 2016-17 season.

"We'll obviously see the Bundesliga and other leagues growing, but you can foresee a situation in 2016-17 where the Premier League could be double what the next highest league is in revenue terms," says Houlihan.

Despite have the lowest value broadcasting deal of all five leagues studied, the Bundesliga generated €2.3bn due to a huge contribution from domestic sponsors. Big German businesses, such as financial giants Allianz and chemical manufactures Evonik, have ploughed money into sponsorship deals with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

In Spain, the collective 3% revenue growth was driven by just two clubs - Real and Atletico Madrid - as the other 18 clubs saw a drop in aggregate revenues.

The Spanish government recently approved a new law approving a more equitable distribution of broadcasting rights money. Currently, Spanish clubs organise their TV deals on a club-by-club basis, meaning that the top two of Real and Barcelona can get up to seven times as much compared to clubs lower down the league.

In terms of wages, the Premier League recorded its lowest wages/revenue ratio in 17 years. Total wages, including off-pitch staff, topped €2.2bn for the Premier League, far ahead of the €1.2bn wage spending recorded in second-placed Italy. However, English football's exorbitant wages - typified by ex-Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao, who was paid £265,000 (€361,596) per week last season - were offset by its huge revenues.