It’s taken a while for Tottenham Hotspur to warm to Uefa’s Europa League competition, but since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas at the club, it’s fair to say that most connected with the club view the cup in a far more positive light than within previous years.
Of course, this isn’t to say that all in N17 necessarily agreed with Harry Redknapp’s tendency to write off the competition as little more than an unwanted distraction to Premier League progress, but nonetheless, the general public opinion towards the Europa League on these shores is one of disdain.
Given Villas-Boas’ previous success in the competition with Porto and their 2011 success in Dublin, it was generally perceived as a given that the Portuguese manager would be looking to replicate that success in North London. And true to form, the former-Chelsea boss has done just that, with his series of persistently strong team selections firing the club into a last-16 encounter with Internazionale.
Although despite fans’ newfound enthusiasm for a shot at Europa League glory and a big night out in Amsterdam on May 15th, the competition isn’t heralded as much of a winner in terms of the club’s off-field ambitions.
Tottenham know only too well the sort of colossal money that comes with participation at the finest European table of all in the Uefa Champions League and with the 2012-13 estimated gross commercial revenue for the competition hitting a staggering €1.34billion, the winner can expect to receive a minimum windfall of some €37.4million.
It’s a truly staggering figure and when you factor in the rest of the ‘market pool’ payments – a share of extra broadcasting revenue proportioned primarily by the size of your country’s respective television market – the prize money tends to bloat out even further. Indeed, Chelsea were estimated to have raked in around €54million all in, following their triumph in last season’s competition.
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Now you don’t need an economics degree to figure out that the Europa League doesn’t offer clubs anything near the sort of money it’s more lucrative, bigger brother does.
But while winning the competition isn’t going to bring in the sort of gargantuan figures this season’s Champions League victors are going to receive, should Spurs be victorious in the Netherlands in two-and-a-half months time, it’s still set to land them just short of an eight-figure sum.
Following their dramatic round-of-32 second-leg against Lyon last week, the Lilywhites have already secured themselves another €350,000 just for making the last-16. Following their participation in the group stages and bonuses for their two wins and four draws, Spurs have currently made about €2.85million from the Europa League – a figure which isn’t likely to go particularly far in this day and age.
But looking ahead in the competition, Spurs have still got another €6.45million still to play for. The vast majority of that sum (€5million) may well be gained by lifting the trophy, but the fact of the matter is that when all is said and done, the club could be looking at taking away €9.3million from lifting this season’s Europa League; a figure that would most probably rise to above €10million when you factor in the market pool money.
Whichever way you look at that,, while it’s potentially barely a fifth of the total the victors of the Champions League are likely to take away from lifting the trophy, it’s hardly a number worth turning your nose up at.
Given the £60million of television money Spurs will receive by simply turning up to play in the Premier League next season, securing just under €10million for lifting the Europa League certainly doesn’t seem like a lot of money. But although Daniel Levy will be able to hand Andre Villas-Boas a sizeable transfer warchest, it’s worth noting that the way in which the league distribute that money, hardy makes it much in the way of a tangible advantage.
Furthermore, given the trend of wage increases that usually adjoin the inflation of clubs’ revenues within the English top tier, fans shouldn’t expect all of that money to instantly be invested in transfers. Similarly with Champions League qualification, given the fact Spurs’ wage bill jumped over £20million last time they qualified for the competition, while you wouldn’t expect quite as massive an increase should they qualify this time around, the likelihood is that wages will still rise up yet another notch.
Winning the Europa League is likely to see the club pay out a small share to both players and staff, but with the club rumoured to be haggling to the tune of only £2.5million with Internacional for the signature of Leandro Damiao, lifting the trophy in the Amsterdam Arena could prove a big boost to Tottenham’s transfer plans during the summer.
Given the fact Villas-Boas’ side are some way off making that dream a reality, it’s perhaps tempting fate to discuss the financial benefits that winning the competition may bring. Although should they be successful in lifting their first European Trophy since 1984, it could well be the difference between signing a good striker and a top quality one this summer.