Column: European Super League was destined for failure, because it was an entertainment product marketed to sports fans

8 June 2021

european super league
Photo: Alamy FC Porto coach Jose Mourinho receives his winners medal from UEFA President Lennart Johansson on the 26th of May 2004. Domestic leagues are increasingly dominated by the wealthiest teams, while the last representative in a Champions League final from outside the big 5 leagues was in 2004, when Jose Mourinho’s Porto defeated Monaco - the last time the competition was won by someone other than one of the 12 founding members of the Super League and Bayern Munich.

The great irony of the European Super League project was that it was conceived to maximise revenue for participating clubs but that those who are the ultimate source of all club revenue - the fans - weren’t consulted and didn’t like the idea very much.

It is true that enterprise values of MLS franchises are significantly higher than European teams, fuelling the narrative that European football is bad at monetising their product. But this is overstated.

There is much to unpick from the project’s remains but most striking is the reminder that despite its continued commercialisation, capitalism is not the only force to which European football is beholden.

While competition organisers have sought to maintain a delicate equilibrium between competitive balance and commercial ‘fairness’, European football is becoming more predictable.

This is the first in a series of articles about the sporting and commercial future of European football. This piece explores the reasons behind The Super League’s recent failure.

Omar Chaudhuri. Chief Intelligence Officer, and Ben Marlow, Managing Director Asia, Twenty First Group contact@offthepitch.com

The spectre of a European Super League has loomed large for three decades, the concept alone enough to increasingly unbalance European football with the slow concentration of resources - sporting and financial - among the biggest teams.

While competition organisers have sought to maintain a delicate equilibrium between competitive balance and commercial ‘fairness’, it has been clear to anyone paying attention that European football is becoming more predictable.

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