190312 Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Mo Salah is awaiting the return of the Premier League. Image Credit: Reuters

With two European trophies and record TV revenue in 2018-19, Premier League clubs enjoyed a record 5.2 billion pounds of revenue, according to data released on Thursday.

But every silver lining has a cloud and the top-flight teams in the world’s most popular league will now have to come to terms with a new feeling — losing money. Premier League franchises are facing a loss of more than 1 billion pounds due to the impact of the coronavirus and the suspension of the 2019-20 season.

The riches of last season are expected to be short-lived as the full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss in gate receipts and the repayments to broadcasting companies takes hold.

The English top flight reinforced its reputation as the richest football on the globe by posting a seven per cent year-on-year increase in revenue, primarily driven by Uefa distributions to the clubs, according to data released by Deloitte.

Four English clubs featured in the finals of Europe’s two club competitions last season. Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur to lift the Champions League trophy, while Chelsea thrashed Arsenal to claim the Europa League title.

The novel coronavirus outbreak, however, has disrupted the 2019-20 season for the major European leagues.

The Deloitte report anticipates the Premier League to lose around 1 billion pounds in revenue this season, despite plans to restart the competition on June 17.

Almost 500 million pounds will be lost permanently due to loss of match day revenue and rebates on broadcast and commercial deals.

The other half is expected to be deferred to the 2020-21 financial year, given almost a quarter of the season will be played beyond June 30.

“Football returning — in a safe and sensible way — is clearly important to limiting the financial impact that the pandemic has had,” Dan Jones, partner and head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“Much remains uncertain, particularly around the timing and scale of the return of fans to stadiums and the impact on commercial and broadcast partners’ wider businesses.”

The European football market as a whole generated a record 28.9 billion euros in the 2018-19 campaign, with the big five leagues in England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy contributing 17 billion euros, a nine per cent increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile, just one positive case was recorded from the Premier League’s latest round of coronavirus testing of players and staff with a week to go before the season restarts.

“The Premier League can today confirm that on Monday 8 June and Tuesday 9 June, 1,213 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, one has tested positive,” the league said in a statement.

The identity of the individual and club was not revealed.

Testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis to ensure the season, which was suspended in March because of the pandemic, can be completed.

The English top-flight will resume on June 17 as Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa and Manchester City host Arsenal.