West Ham’s song famously includes the words “fortune’s always hiding.”
Up until this season, fortune has very much been in the shadows for the most part, but the saying that not always getting what you wish for is good, is true when it comes to Slaven Bilic. The club’s first choice was within hours of signing, but Rafa Benitez had his head turned by Real. It could all have been very different.
All of this of course couldn’t happen without the backing of the two Davids. Both West Ham fans, both passionate about the rise of the club and both want the Hammers to compete with the best.
Bilic, as we all know, wasn’t the number one choice, but his record in his debut season is there for all to see and for the club to build upon.
With a remit to just stay in the Premier League and no more, Bilic’s newly assembled squad has broken club records, beaten teams not previously beaten for decades and are holding their own for a European place. What’s more the fans are seeing a return to the more traditional football played in east London and the usually spiky natives are now contented souls once more.
The fact that West Ham have remained in the Premier League, entitles them to a share of the TV money, and with a move to the Olympic Stadium this summer, the Irons’ fortunes will be transformed.
Last season under Sam Allardyce, West Ham’s 25-man squad finished 12th, picking up £11.2million in Premier League prize money and sharing a £2million bonus.
When you compare the stats for West Ham against the newly crowned league champions, Leicester, West Ham were already doing OK. Leicester had a turnover of £104.4m in 2015 compared to £120.7m for West Ham in the same period. The Foxes spent £57.4m on wages compared to the Hammers’ £63.9m last year. Their average gate for King Power Stadium was 31,693 with a stadium capacity 32,262, while the Irons averaged 34,871 from the Boleyn’s 35,000 capacity. Leicester earned just £10.65m from ticket sales while West Ham earned £20m+.
England’s top division is already the wealthiest in global football, with each team pocketing an average of £80million from central funds each year. Last season Chelsea banked £99m in Premier League prize money while even rock-bottom QPR went down with £64.9m.
The money on offer for the current season will be similar for the respective finishes. But then, from 2016/17, it will surge like never before. That average of £80m per club will leap closer to £120m per club, per season. Next season’s winners will take home central prize cash alone of around £150m. The team at the bottom will earn about £100m.
That’s before a ticket or replica shirt is sold, or before a sponsorship deal is done.
By 2016/17 that will have grown by a factor of sixty. What was once a revenue stream that earned £250m over five years will have become one making close to £9billion over three, or nudging £3bn per year. A share of the flood of money still flowing in from broadcasters in all corners of the world, as well as from Sky and BT Sport, will be another revenue stream for clubs, so you can see why the West Ham board wanted to stay in the Premier League.
Should The Hammers qualify for the Europa League, there is further good news for the club.
UEFA Announced a 65% increase in the total prize money pool for the Europa League from 2015/16 season where a total of €381m will be distributed among Europa League teams. The prize money fund is divided into two parts.
A). Performance Related Payments (€229m): This pot is distributed among all Europa league participants on where they finish in the competition.
B). Market Pool Payments (€152m): distributed according to proportional value of the domestic TV market from which the club is from. For example Teams from England, Spain, Germany will receive bigger payments than teams from Ukraine, Belgium etc., who would receive less.
The figures for the OS have been revealed and the club’s revenue will increase astronomically to a level never thought possible by Hammers fans. There is talk of the club being one of the richest around by 2020.
So, fortune’s no longer hide for West Ham, but credit must go to the board who have turned a club on the brink of disaster into a club for the future.