May 31 (Bloomberg) -- The English Premier League was able to use the overseas popularity of its soccer teams to increase clubs’ combined revenue by 12 percent in the season before last amid a sluggish U.K. economy.
Sales at clubs including Manchester United reached 2.27 billion pounds ($3.5 billion), driven by broadcast income from abroad and sponsorship deals for bigger teams, according to research by accountant Deloitte LLP.
Combined pretax losses were 380 million pounds, Deloitte said in a news release, without providing a year-earlier figure, as spending on player transfers surged 38 percent to a record 769 million pounds. While the Premier League is soccer’s biggest championship by sales, Germany’s Bundesliga is more profitable, Deloitte said.
“Top clubs in English football have continued to show impressive revenue growth despite a difficult economic climate,” Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said in the release.
Matchday income rose 4 percent to 551 million pounds, although half of the 20 elite clubs saw ticket revenue fall, Deloitte said.
The combined operating profit of Bundesliga teams rose 24 percent to 154 million pounds for the period, the news release said. That compares with a 19 percent decline to 68 million pounds for the Premier League.
In English soccer’s second-tier Championship, revenue increased 4 percent to 423 million pounds after an increase of so-called solidarity payments to teams relegated from the Premier League and the promotion of larger clubs into the division.
The Championship’s games attract more spectators than matches in Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1, Deloitte said.
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