29 May 2024 - 3:08 PM


IMAGO | Ajax Amsterdam celebrates winning the UEFA Champions League in 1995.

As UEFA’s Champions League nears another new format, Europe’s less illustrious clubs struggle to see benefits from booming TV deals

  • Saturday’s final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund is the 20th in a row contested by clubs from just five of Europe’s many leagues. Real Madrid have banked over €100 million in European prize money for the fourth season running.
  • In the first CL-season 32 years ago, clubs from outside the Big Five leages earned 64 per cent of the competition’s prize money. Today teams from those leagues table less than one third of the total prize pot.
  • Why it matters: Football’s premier club competition will expand next season, as will the prize pot, but financial benefits continue to flow to the already rich, stifling the likelihood of a new name appearing on the trophy.
  • The perspective: Though the proportion of prize money split between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ has remained consistent, the difference in monetary terms has soared. Of the five clubs to top €1 billion in prize money since 1999, none of them are English.

This weekend’s Champions League final may not be the most lucrative one-off game in football – that accolade goes to the EFL Championship play-off final, which guarantees the winners around €235 million in TV money over the next three seasons – but Saturday evening’s showdown between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund may just be this season’s most-watched.

It's not exactly thrifty either. The winners will earn

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