Arsenal earned €31.4 million from last season's Champions League

Stuart Franklin

The amount distributed to Arsenal represents an increase from the 2011-12 Champions League money distribution, which netted the club €28.2 million

Arsenal further saw their coffers inflate as UEFA released the prize money distritubtion today and, in their report, the club earned €31.4 million from the 2012-13 Champions League campaign, which was the 2rd most money earned from the Champions League, following Manchester United's €35.5 million. There are a couple things to note while reading both the article and the prize money distribution document, but the overall theme is very much UEFA: it's complex, multi-layered and confusing as hell. I'll let UEFA explain:

All 32 participants were entitled to a minimum €8.6m in accordance with the distribution system. Additionally, performance bonuses were paid in the group stage: teams received €1m for every win and €500,000 for every draw, and Dortmund (with four wins and two draws) and PSG (five wins) reaped the biggest rewards, of €5m apiece. The clubs that advanced to the round of 16 were each assigned an additional €3.5m, the eight quarter-finalists an extra €3.9m, and the four semi-finalists a bonus of €4.9m.

Monies from the market pool were divided according to the proportional value of the national TV market allocated to each individual club, among other factors. As a consequence, the amounts given varied from country (or national association) to country.

Clubs taking part in the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds also netted solidarity payments and each of the 20 sides involved in the play-offs gained a fixed amount of €2.1m, irrespective of the result of their ties.

Riiiight. Got it. But hey, what's with that market pool money? How does UEFA figure out, exactly, what clubs earn what sort of market pool money? Off to the best football financial resource on the interwebs, Swiss Ramble:

In addition to these fixed sums, the clubs receive a share of the television money from the TV (market) pool, which is allocated according to a number of variables. First, the total amount available in the pool depends on the size/value of a country’s TV market, so the amount allocated to teams in England is more than that given to, say, Spain, as English television generates more revenue. Clubs can also potentially do better if fewer representatives from their country reach the group stage, as the available money is divided between fewer clubs.

In the case of the English clubs in the Champions League, the allocation works as follows:

(a) Half depends on the position that the club finished in the previous season’s Premier League with the team finishing first receiving 40%, the team finishing second 30%, third 20% and fourth 10%.

(b) Half depends on the progress in the current season’s Champions League, which is based on the number of games played, starting from the group stages.

However, the 2012/13 allocation for the element based on the previous season’s Premier League finish was changed following Chelsea’s Champions League win as follows: Manchester City (1st) 30%, Manchester United (2nd) 25%, Arsenal (3rd) 15%, Chelsea (5th) 30%. So, the first three clubs lost a portion of their TV pool following Chelsea’s remarkable success.

A few things about market pool money in general, Performance Bonuses and how it affected each of the EPL clubs, if you don't mind.

If you look at the document linked above, you'll see that the two highest earners of market pool money were Juventus and AC Milan, which makes sense if you follow what Ramble stated: by being the only two representatives of Italy, they got to share a total of roughly €81 million; Juventus took home a little over €44 million and Milan just over €36 million. As a result, Juventus earned the most money of any club that participated in the Champions League last year (Milan earned the 4th most), more than eventual winners Bayern Munich and runner-ups Borussia Dortmund. Indeed, Ramble, it does literally pay to have fewer clubs from your country in the Champions League.

(However, the total market pool money allotment for England, roughly €72.4 million, is less than Italy's total allotment of roughly €81 million. Based on Ramble's explanation along with everything I know about England's ability to generate TV revenue at a pace that is otherworldly and a lack of further information out there explaining how this came to be, I'm simply left stumped. If anyone has additional information that could help explain this, it'd be much appreciated.)

Because United finished one place above Arsenal in the final table, they're entitled to a higher percentage of half the market pool allocation. The total market pool distribution for United was €19.4 million; Arsenal took home €15.8 million, or a difference of €3.6 million. Further, Manchester United earned €500,000 more than Arsenal in Performance Bonuses, which is awarded to clubs based upon their results in the Group Stage, which is how United ended up taking more home than Arsenal.

As you notice, Chelsea, thanks to their triumph the previous Champions League season, was awarded 30% of half the allotment given to English clubs, which helped propel them to the 2nd highest amount of market pool money, behind United (€18.6 million), €2.8 million more than Arsenal. They didn't advance to the knockout stage, which saw them miss out on more potential income earned, but they ended the Group Stage with the same record (three wins, one draw, two losses) as Arsenal. Therefore, they also earned €3.5 million in Performance Bonuses. With Arsenal collecting an additional €3.5 million from the Knockout Round advancement, this is what ultimately boosted the Gunners past our West London rivals.

Had Manchester City done anything of note in the Group Stage, chances are they would have walked home with a far larger number than the €28.7 million they did. They took home the same percentage of half the market pool allotment as Chelsea (€18.6 million), but as you recall they were drawn into last year's Group of Death, along with Real Madrid, Dortmund and Ajax. Somehow, though, they managed to finish last with no wins, three draws and three losses. Because UEFA distributes €500,000 for a draw (and €0 for those lovely losses), City earned €1.5 million in a Performance Bonus and, of course, no additional income because they didn't advance to the Knockout Rounds.

As you can see, while it's not as lucrative as advancing through each stage of the Knockout Round (or finding a way to have your country represented by as few clubs as possible), it helps to secure as many wins as possible in the Group Stage. It helps increase a club's Performance Bonus and makes it more likely they can advance to the Knockout Round. Arsenal have benefited from advancing to the Knockout Stage for the past 13 seasons, which is an achievement in its own right considering the precarious circumstances the club has operated in over the past ten years (yes, I know, it's an achievement, not a trophy), and one can only hope the club can continue this sort of progression in this upcoming Champions League.

Assuming, that is, they can get past the two-leg playoff in August.

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