The Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs have all smashed through the Premier League £1billion prize money barrier this season, underlining the stranglehold they have at the top at a time when they are looking to claim a bigger percentage of overseas TV rights.
With the final Premier League positions to be decided on Sunday, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City will all join Manchester United among an elite band who have earned £1bn in TV money since the inception of the Premier League in 1992-93.
There have been 49 clubs in the Premier League, who have now split £20bn between them. But in a stark illustration of how the select few have far greater earning potential, the Big Six — who represent 12 per cent of the clubs — have taken £6.6bn, or 33 per cent, of the prize money. Everton, the only club outside of the Big Six to have been in the Premier League throughout, are not far behind the billionaires, commanding a total of £959m.
But all other clubs are then way behind, with West Ham and Newcastle, who have both had a major Premier League presence, next best, both earning a little over £800m.
One source from a club outside the elite six said: ‘The others are all way ahead. This shows why an equitable split of TV rights is in the interests of a league which sells itself on its competitiveness.’
The disparity coincides with the publication in English of a book, ‘Football Leaks’, which reveals that United are so wealthy they can afford to pay Alexis Sanchez £391,000 a week plus a £75,000 loyalty fee every time he runs on to the field.
Arsenal agreed to pay Sanchez’s replacement, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, £18.2m on top of his £198,000-a-week salary when signing him from Borussia Dortmund. His extras included a £15.15m loyalty bonus, split into four instalments, to be paid before the end of his contract in 2021, plus £300,000 for 25 goals or assists in a season. ‘This is on another planet to us,’ said the source.
The book’s authors, Rafael Buschmann and Michael Wulzinger, raise the prospect of City commanding a squad which is worth £1billion. They state: ‘City’s strategy is to create a squad with two top-quality players for every position, allowing Pep Guardiola, if necessary, to replace a £50m player with another £50m player. The sheikhs in Abu Dhabi have pushed the envelope further than ever. If they continue down this road, it’s conceivable that the players inside the team bus as it rolls along to an away match will be worth £1bn.’
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore told clubs at their last shareholders’ meeting that the dispute over the carve-up of 2019-22 overseas broadcast revenue must be resolved at a meeting next month.
Plans by the Big Six to drive through major reform to the distribution of foreign broadcast rights revenue were shelved amid disagreement. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs had all demanded a bigger share.
*Each club receives about £12.5million guaranteed (precise figure to be confirmed), then about £1.18m per live TV game above 10 games. **Bottom club (currently Stoke) get about £2m, and each other team gets the same again per position above them. † Equal shares of domestic TV income, overseas TV income and central commercial income total about £82m, tbc. All figures to be confirmed when the final table is known.
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