The Premier League is one of the most exciting, entertaining and arguably the very best football league in the world. Every year players from across the globe flock to England to play alongside a whole host of international stars who love the pace, challenge and unpredictability of the world’s oldest domestic football competition. This year it was announced that a new and highly lucrative Premier League TV rights deal would come in to play for three seasons from 2016-17, the biggest in the competitions history.
The 70% increase from £3.018bn to £5.136bn over the next three seasons, thanks to a new combination deal between Sky and BT, will see clubs pick up £99 million per season with the league winners earning more than £150 million. And that’s not even accounting for the extra money that clubs will receive from televised matches. So with this huge financial incentive on the cards it’s no surprise to see that clubs across the country are looking to strengthen their squads even further and many owners have dug deep into their pockets during the 2015 transfer window.
The Premier League transfer spend this summer reached a staggering £500 million, and as the transfer window slammed shut on 1st September the total had reached an eye-watering £870 million. This incredible figure surpassed last year’s whopping £835 million spending spree by £35 million, spearheaded by Manchester City, who are bankrolled by one of the richest club owners in the league. If we include the January transfer window, total spend in 2015 also broke records after topping the £1 billion mark for the first time in history.
Such astronomical sums have raised eyebrows across the world as the figure outlaid by England’s top clubs totalled nearly double the expenditure of any other leagues in Europe. Records were broken for the highest transfer fee paid for an English player when former Liverpool wide man Raheem Sterling controversially moved to Manchester City for a cool £49 million and then Kevin De Bruyne rocked up at the Etihad for an equally shocking £55m fee.
With ticket prices higher than ever, and the grassroots game suffering a number of cut-backs from cash-strapped local councils, fans of the game are rightly worried that the gap between elite Premier League clubs and the home grown movement is widening to unprecedented levels and that’s not good for the future of the game. Football is a business like no other but like any economist will tell you, after the boom comes the bust; the question on everyone’s mind is when will this madness end?