Legia tops Polish financial football league

Legia Warsaw has topped the Polish Ekstraklasa Football Financial League for the ninth time in a row.

Revenues of PLN 124 mln (EUR 27 mln) in 2019 ensured the capital’s largest team top position in the earnings ranking of Polish football clubs, compiled by consulting firm Deloitte.

The 2019-2020 Ekstrakalsa runner-up Legia, which earned over PLN 70 mln (EUR 15 mln) more than its closest rival Lechia Gdańsk, was the top team moneywise. The team from the Baltic coast took in PLN 51 mln (EUR 11 mln), some PLN 2.8 mln (EUR 0.6 mln) more than last year. Ekstraklasa champions Piast performed less well financially, attaining sixth position on PLN 36 mln (EUR 8 mln)

“Commercially we are doing pretty well. But there is a lot more we can do, sporting wise, as a major source of revenue comes from playing in the European competitions,” Legia board member Tomasz Zahorski said. Legia had a run of qualifying for European tournament group stages three times out of four last decade, but failed to continue past the knockout stages in the last two years.

The report was prepared on the basis of revenues from three sources: matchday takings, TV rights and marketing income. The better financial performance for the league was partly down to an increase in TV revenues, which included the transmission of more matches on Polish Television (TVP).

The league’s total revenue of PLN 571mln (EUR 124 mln) did not include transfers of PLN mln (EUR 31 mln), of which 92 percent came from moves abroad.

Legia was also the leader in this regard, earning PLN 46 mln (EUR 10 mln), with Jagiellonia Białystok from Eastern Poland earning just under 19 mln (EUR 4 mln) including EUR 2.5 mln for the promising young Patrick Klimala, who went to Europa League group stages team Celtic.

Average attendances were up 2 percent to just over 9,000. Legia’s attendance averaged over 18,000, followed by Wisła Kraków on 16,000 and Lech Poznań on 15,000.

Despite their improvement in 2019, Polish teams are far behind their European rivals. Barcelona took in 840 mln and its bitter rival in the Spanish league stakes Real Madrid earned EUR 757 mln. Elsewhere Manchester United earned EUR 711 mln and Bayern Munich brought in EUR 660 mln.

The pandemic will however wreak havoc with clubs’ earnings. According to Deloitte, English Premier League clubs alone face a PLN 5 bn (EUR 1.1 bn) drop in their revenues in 2019-20.