La Liga clubs posted revenue of €4.479 billion, representing growth of 20.6% over the previous season according to the latest financial report of Spanish professional football.
The latest financial report shows the continued growth in revenue for La Liga who are now in far better shape than they were in the 2012/2013 season when they experience a financial crisis.
La Liga officials from their Nigerian office presented this financial report to some journalists last week.
The latest growth in revenue also comes following several financial years in which La Liga have been consistently posting double-digit growth rates and in which, furthermore, they are at the midway point of the three-year audiovisual cycle for the national market (and, by extension without coinciding with sudden increases in level or discontinuities).
La Liga's gross operating profit (EBITDA) was €945m (+20.7%), operating profit (EBIT) was €325m (+11.4%), and the net profit for the year was €189m (+6.7%) which means that Spanish professional football saw a solid, positive and growing set of results across the board, achieving the best figures in the competition's history.
According to the report, the drivers of the growth were commercial revenue and revenue from transfers, which have seized the central role held by broadcasting revenues as drivers of annual growth.
Without including the turnover from advertising, La Liga saw a 34.1% annual increase in commercial revenue, amounting to €838m, a sign that Spanish clubs are becoming increasingly attractive to sponsors.
La Liga also saw a 104.3% increase in revenue from players’ transfers with sales of €1.018bn made.
The audiovisual turnover received by the clubs managed to surpass the €1.5bn mark for the first time and will recover its central role starting in the 2019/20 season as a result of the new audiovisual cycle negotiated for the national market and the international agreements which have been signed.
Also impressively, these growths in revenue were achieved with an increase in operating expenses (OPEX) and at a time of high investment intensity (CAPEX).
OPEX (€3.169bn) increased by 18.7% in 2017/18, propelled especially by increases in sports staff expenses, which represent an investment in talent and a potential source of income for LaLiga in the medium term, through both rotation – transfer – as such, as well as the increase in sporting potential and the general appeal of the competition.
Meanwhile, gross CAPEX on infrastructure and players (€1.341bn) followed the same trend with annual growth of 11.8%.
“Without doubt, these are highly appreciable levels of expenses and investment, providing the best guarantee of maintaining the quality of LaLiga out on the field of play and its appeal in the medium to long term,” La Liga said in a statement.
LaLiga achieved all of these figures while simultaneously maintaining a downward trend in the degree of leverage. The ratio of financial debt to EBITDA of the competition was 0.9x, the lowest level on record.
It is equally important to underscore that LaLiga 1|2|3 is contributing more and more not only to the revenue of LaLiga as a whole but also to the earnings (all the indicators are in positive territory and show upward trends) and to the creation of cash flow and value for the business.
“Likewise, the two special groupings that we use for internal financial analysis in the Association, Netted LaLiga and Netted LaLiga Santander, which exclude the two largest clubs, are converging more and more rapidly towards LaLiga and LaLiga Santander as a whole respectively,” La Liga also said.
“In relative terms, some indexes or ratios are even better. This is indicative of a business that is increasingly more fairly distributed and more sustainable in the long term.
"The above has led LaLiga to obtain an overall operating profitability index (ROIC) of 12.3% (15.1% adjusted) in the 2017/18 season, six decimal points higher than the previous season and, in any case, substantially better than those of other leading competitions.”
La Liga also noted that they intend to use 2.0% of their turnover for corporate social responsibility projects.
“This allows for the development of the pioneering initiatives mentioned in the report which give us hope and stimulate us, and of which we feel proud,” La Liga also said.
The healthy financial state of La Liga has enabled clubs to a professional football industry which produces an impact on national GDP equivalent to 1.37%, which directly or indirectly employs around 185,000 people (0.98% of average employed population in Spain over the past year) and also contributes over €4 billion to the state coffers in the form of taxes.