A new study by EY highlights how the Premier League and its clubs have continued to generate widespread benefits for the economy, society and the entire football pyramid, despite the significant challenges presented by COVID-19.
The analysis reveals that Premier League football contributed £7.6billion to the UK economy during the 2019/20 season, which was suspended for more than three months due to the pandemic. Clubs' economic activity has grown by 840 per cent since the 1998/99 season.
The League and its clubs generated a total tax contribution of £3.6bn to the UK Exchequer in 2019/20, £1.4bn of which was accounted for by Premier League players. The total tax contribution underpinned by clubs has increased by £3.1bn since 1998/99.
The League and clubs have also delivered substantial employment growth over a prolonged period of time, with 94,000 jobs supported across the UK. The number of club-related jobs has increased from 11,000 in 1998/99 to more than 87,000 in 2019/20, a rise of 650 per cent.
The appeal of Premier League football to fans in the UK and around the world is evident as the report shows there was a cumulative global audience of 3.2bn in 2019/20, double that of the UEFA Champions League. Prior to COVID disruption, stadiums were a record 97.8 per cent full across the League.
This on-pitch success allows continued and increased investment into communities nationally and locally, and football at all levels. The League provided solidarity and parachute payments to 138 EFL and National League clubs, with a total of £455million distributed to other leagues and community football in 2019/20.
"Hundreds of thousands of children, young people and adults benefit from initiatives supported by the League each year"
EY's assessment reveals that the Premier League's total economic contribution remains equal to pre-pandemic levels and the amount generated in 2016/17. This is despite an estimated £1.3bn loss in broadcast and matchday revenues during seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to Premier League matches being played behind closed doors.
EY UK Chief Economist Peter Arnold said: "In the difficult times we have all experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, football has provided moments of excitement and togetherness for many.
"This report looks at the effect of the activities behind those moments and highlights the significant growth in the League's impact since EY's first impact assessment of the League and its clubs in 2013/14.
"The League's global appeal continues to be a key factor in driving its economic impact, and the League plays a significant role at the heart of clubs' communities. Hundreds of thousands of children, young people and adults benefit from initiatives supported by the League each year and the pandemic has helped pull the role of football within communities across the country into sharper focus than ever before."
'Significant contribution to UK economy'
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "This new report from EY shows how we and our clubs continue to contribute significantly to the UK economy and have delivered much-needed assistance to all levels of football and communities at a time when the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges and uncertainty for so many.
"We are proud of the level of support we provide the football pyramid, as well as funding community organisations of clubs up and down the country. The importance of their work has been more evident than ever in recent times, providing help to people who needed it the most.
"This success and popularity enables us to continue investing in the competition and provide unparalleled support to the whole game and communities"
"Our clubs produce exciting, competitive football featuring the best players and managers in the world, which is followed by billions of fans globally and supporters filling stadiums each week.
"This success and popularity enables us to continue investing in the competition and provide unparalleled support to the whole game and communities, ensuring the positive impact of the Premier League is felt far beyond what we see on the pitch."
Thanks to the geographical location of Premier League clubs, the benefits of the League's significant contribution are spread throughout the country.
All nine major regions in England were represented by at least one Premier League club in 2019/20 and 72 per cent of the League's economic activity was generated outside of London.
The economic impact in the capital during 2019/20 was matched by that in the North West of England. Clubs generated £2.1bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) and 21,000 jobs in both these regions.
This impact has been welcomed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
"This report shows the Premier League continues to score for the economy"
"It’s fantastic that the Premier League has contributed billions to the economy throughout the pandemic," said Chancellor Rishi Sunak. "This is testament to football fans’ unwavering support for the beautiful game.
“This report shows the Premier League continues to score for the economy. And we are continuing to invest in the game through our support for grassroots facilities in communities across the country. This will help the next generation of players realise their dream of playing in the world’s greatest league, wherever they come from.”
Also in this series
Part 1: Download the EY Report (PDF; Size: 7.8MB)
Part 3: 'League's role important at local and global levels'
Part 4: Sunak: League's contribution to economy is fantastic
Part 5: Investing in communities and the wider game
Part 6: League investment supporting football pyramid
Part 7: Providing a helping hand during the pandemic
Part 8: Premier League success being felt across the UK
Part 9: Burnham: League has massive benefits for North West
Part 10: How West Ham contribute to local economy
Part 11: 'Significant investment' boosting homegrown stars
Part 12: Producing the next generation of coaching talent
Part 13: League's global support boosting UK appeal
Part 14: Egypt symbolises growth of Premier League