- Everton’s matchday revenue has decreased most of the current Premier League teams.
- Moving to a bigger stadium, or just increasing capacity, as Liverpool have done, will massively grow matchday revenue.
- But the cost of building a new stadium keeps piling up: “Each year the new stadium train gets faster and faster,” said one expert.
- Everton is failing to keep up their matchday revenue at Goodison Park on a large scale.
The Liverpool club is far behind the top six clubs but is now also having trouble keeping up with other typical mid-table teams, such as Southampton and West Ham, an analysis of the 13 teams consistently in the Premier League over the last five years.
Over the period, the Toffees’ matchday income has decreased by more than 15 per cent, which corresponds to £3 million, whereas Southampton has increased their matchday income by 12 per cent and West Ham theirs by 25 per cent.
West Ham’s massive growth is mainly due to the move from Upton Park, with a capacity of 35,000, to London Stadium, where capacity is 60,000.
Built in 1892, Everton’s current home at Goodison Park is one of the Premier League’s oldest stadiums and it carries a lot of history. The club has been crowned first division champions nine times while residing at Goodison Park, but the Toffees’ plans to build a new stadium will most likely prove to be wise.
Paul Fletcher, who has been CEO at several stadiums and commercial director of the new Wembley Stadium, has a harsh verdict on Everton’s possibilities at Goodison.
“Everton currently cannot strengthen the team by generating revenue from their antique stadium,” he says.
Importance of a new stadium
Over the past few years, Everton has been planning to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock on the banks of the River Mersey. In December, Everton proposed a 52,000-seater stadium with the potential to increase further to 62,000.
If Everton still needs a final incentive to move away from Goodison Park, with a capacity of just 39,000, they only have to look at Tottenham, West Ham or perhaps even take a walk across Stanley Park to their local rivals, Liverpool.
The three clubs mentioned have managed to increase their matchday revenue substantially by increasing the capacity of their home grounds.
Tottenham increased their year-on-year matchday revenue from 2017 to 2018 by 56 per cent after moving from White Hart Lane to Wembley and, as earlier mentioned, West Ham increased theirs by 25 per cent after moving to a new and bigger ground.
Paul Fletcher, who has built or advised on more than 30 new grounds, believes Everton have missed the boat on the new stadium.
“Following the Taylor Report in 1990, there have been 31 brand new stadiums in the UK. Initially, they cost £1,500 per seat (A 30,000-seater would cost £45 million) Now the price is more than double that. A new stadium, to allow Everton to compete with the top six will cost over £100 million. Each year the new stadium train gets faster and faster, there’s a good chance that Everton has fallen too far behind to ever catch up,”.
No idea where Everton is
He also points out that local rivals Liverpool, with their greater success and bigger brand, could be influencing Everton’s receding matchday revenue.
“Football is now a worldwide attraction. It’s unfortunate that most of the football watching spectators around the world have no idea where Everton is. They can understand the location of Manchester, Leicester and Newcastle but Everton isn’t a town or city. This was taken by Liverpool in the days when it didn’t matter. But it matters now.”
Liverpool FC’s matchday revenue has also spiralled upward during the five-year period, but they’ve managed to do so without moving away from Anfield. After redeveloping the Main Stand in 2016, increasing stadium capacity by 8,500 seats, the Reds have had significantly higher matchday revenue.
Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool FC, will be happy to see that their matchday revenue has grown by almost £30 million since 2014, which corresponds to a growth of 58 per cent.
Weight of European nights
Having bigger, newer and more modern facilities isn’t everything, though. Liverpool had an increase of £7 million from 2017 to 2018, which is most likely due to their impressive Champions League run securing them several big home games.
The significance of competing in Europe is not to be underestimated if you look at the numbers. Everton only competed domestically in the 2016/17 season, when their matchday revenue dropped to £14 million, before rising to £16 million the season thereafter, when they once again competed in Europa League – they registered two defeats and a draw at home with an average of just 19,000 spectators.
Looking at Manchester United, one can also see the value for a big club to compete in either Europa League or Champions League. The Red Devils had matchday revenue totalling £108 million in 2014, before plummeting to £90 million the season thereafter, when they missed out on European qualification.
Just win matches
When United qualified for European football once again, their matchday revenue lifted from £90 million to £106 million. During the five-year period, Manchester United have managed to achieve some small growth in their matchday revenue – 1.5 per cent.
Looking at the 13 teams that have been consistently in the Premier League over the last five seasons, there has been a combined increase of 14 per cent. Manchester United still have the biggest revenue on match days, with Arsenal coming in second. The London club, however, has experienced a slight decline of a little more than one per cent as the only team in the top six.
According to Paul Fletcher, though, the key to a higher match day revenue can be very simple.
“Win matches. There is no other way.”
Source: UK Media
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