February 29, 2024

An overview of the Portuguese football industry

February 29, 2024

An overview of the Portuguese football industry

The release of the 7th edition of the Portuguese Professional Football Annual Report, drawn up by the consulting firm EY in partnership with the Liga Portugal, regarding the data from the 2022/23 season, has brought several numbers to the table that allow analyzing the reality and impact of professional football in Portugal.


Impact on Portugal's GDP

The Liga Portugal and its Clubs contributed approximately 667 million euros to Portugal's GDP, representing 0.26% of the country's total GDP.  The Liga Portugal Bwin, the main professional football division in the country, made the highest contribution with 639 million euros, a 10% increase from the previous season.

Regarding tax contributions, there was a continuing upward trend, with emphasis on IRS and Social Security totalling 178 million euros.


Impact on the labour market

According to the document, Liga Portugal and its clubs were directly responsible for creating 3,504 jobs, with 2,660 in the Liga Portugal Bwin. Among these, players earned the highest salaries, totalling 269 million euros in the aggregate, followed by coaches and staff.


Stadium attendance

In the 2022/23 season, 3.554 million fans attended Portuguese stadiums in the Liga Portugal Bwin, averaging 11,621 spectators per game. SL Benfica had the highest attendance rate throughout the season, with an average occupancy rate of 89%, achieving the highest attendance against Santa Clara in the season's final game that secured the title for the Reds.  The top attendance list is completed by FC Porto (87% average occupancy), Marítimo (81%), Famalicão (73%), and Sporting CP (58%).


Media return of Liga Portugal Bwin

According to the Annual Report, the media return of the competition is estimated at 1,617 million euros. In the 2022-23 season, online media represented 424 million euros, a 30% increase from the previous season, with 15.5 million euros coming from interactions on social media. However, television remains the most predominant medium, with a return valued at 1,090 million euros.


Transfer market

In the 2022/23 season, the total spending on transfers in the top tier of Portuguese football reached 234 million euros, a 220% increase in investment compared to the previous season (106 million euros). Most signings came from foreign leagues (56%), with the majority occurring in the summer transfer window (80%).

The signing of Enzo Fernandéz by SL Benfica was the most expensive of the season (44.25 million euros, from River Plate), followed by the transfer of David Carmo from Braga to FC Porto for 20.28 million euros, and David Neres from Ajax to Benfica for 15.3 million euros.

Regarding departures, 277 players from Liga Portugal Bwin were transferred to foreign leagues, generating 505 million euros for Portuguese clubs. The summer transfer window accounted for the majority of these movements (77%).

Enzo Fernandéz also tops the list of the biggest transfers, with his departure from SL Benfica in the January transfer window to English side Chelsea, in exchange for 121 million euros. The podium of departures is completed with the transfer of Matheus Nunes from Sporting to Wolverhampton for a sum of 45 million euros, as well as the move of Vitinha from FC Porto to Paris Saint-Germain for 42 million euros.


Clubs with revenue increases

Club revenues in Liga Portugal Bwin increased by 9% in 2022/23 compared to 2021/22. The majority of revenues came from player transfers and loans (256 million euros), followed by participation in European competitions (180 million euros), media rights (171 million euros), and commercial activities (92 million euros), including sponsorships, advertising, and corporate deals.

The trend with the most significant increase is on the commercial side, which has been growing year after year. The commercial item has shown the most significant increase, continuously growing after the impacts in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2018/19 and 2022/23, there was a 26%, 27%, and 55% increase in commercial, ticketing, and merchandising revenues, respectively.


More equitable revenue distribution

The EY document highlights that in the 2022/23 season, there was a more equitable distribution of revenues among clubs compared to the previous season.  In 2021/22, the top three ranked teams in the league table accounted for 77% of total revenues, while in 22/23, the top three represented 57%, indicating a 20% decrease. The remaining distribution was among the 4th to 6th place (15%) and the 7th to 18th place (28%).