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Best tickets into European Competition

Consumers today are more savvy than ever. As prospective buyers, we rarely buy the first product we find. Instead we often dig around through ratings, reviews, and other evidence-based research prior to deciding what is worth buying and whether to transact. Shouldn’t the same approach exist for prospective football club investors?


Football clubs are most attractive to investors when there is potential for broadcast rights growth. There has been astonishing growth in broadcast values across the big five leagues in recent decades, but the values have stalled elsewhere in Europe.

The overall pie of football broadcast revenues is still growing, but the makeup is changing. Meaning the football market is being required to change its conventions and adapt; and it is no surprise we are often asked about creating strategies to reach and remain in UEFA’s club competitions.

A majority of European clubs now have business plans increasingly targeted around qualifying – UCL for bigger clubs, UEL for smaller clubs – given the €2.5bn in prize money available to clubs reaching the group stage onwards. This growing prize pot presents an opportunity for clubs to earn well above expected in their domestic leagues. What’s more, players excelling in these competitions can increase their visibility and inflate their value in the transfer market, creating another significant revenue stream for clubs.

Our analysis can highlight which countries, leagues, and teams are best-positioned to take advantage of the opportunity given a mix of historical spend, competitive balance, qualification history, and quality relative to their UEFA coefficient. For prospective owners, highlighting the various types of tickets into European competition sets up a conversation regarding which tickets are most preferred and what paths forward are worth pursuing.

The first divisions in Scotland and Croatia would be enticing for any investors looking to maximise the value of money spent to reach European competition. Compared to the Russian Premier League, both leagues are significantly more attractive and clubs in both leagues spend an average of five times less money on their squad –a material difference for owners looking to compete over a number of years.

Next week we enter Matchday 6 of the UCL and UEL group stages, meaning soon only 32 clubs will remain. All other clubs will begin plotting how to find their next ticket to Europe’s most exclusive competitions.

For owners and investors looking to be more savvy than ever, it is vital to ask and answer a few fundamental questions before becoming too attached to any one strategy, league, or club. As with consumer searches, it turns out what we accomplish at the onset through empirical research can be the most valuable work – before we march down a path from which all future actions and consequences extend.

About AJ Swoboda

AJ Swoboda has created 7 entries.