I came across this very interesting infographic today from Deloitte, publishers of the Annual Review of Football Finance. There is so much of interest in it that it’s hard to know where to start, but the one thing which jumps out at me is the relationship between the percentage of revenue spent on wages and the change in attendances from the previous season.
In the three leagues with the highest proportion of revenue spent on wages; the Premier League (70%), Serie A (75%) and Ligue 1 (74%) average attendances have all declined by 2%, 7% and 4% respectively, whilst in the two leagues with the lowest proportion of revenue spent on wages the Bundesliga (51%) and La Liga (60%) average attendance rose by 5% and 1% respectively.
Whilst it is difficult to draw inferences from what is a relatively small sample size, and whilst there may be a variety of other reasons for changes in average attendances, such as which teams come in and out of the leagues at the botttom end, there is one obvious question…
If a lower proportion of revenue is taken up by wages, then just what is the money spent on? Assuming clubs aren’t hoarding profits it is likely that money is spent elsewhere; foe example on the physical infrastructure of stadia and training grounds, community programmes, or fan engagement. Could it be this flexibility in prioritising spending which has allowed Bundesliga and La Liga clubs to boost attendances amidst a continent wide ongoing economic crisis?