This Premier League season is remarkable. And will certainly remain in history books. Who would have thought that Leicester and the Spurs would lead the league table on matchday 25 or Chelsea being not even close to Champions League qualification. But despite that, we see many traditional clubs who actually have high ambitions to be among the leading European clubs struggling with a consistent performance.
Surprisingly if you look at the striking names of expensive and famous player in the rows of Premier League clubs. And even more surprising when looking at the unbelievable number of more than GBP 1 billion spent in player transfers in this season 2015/2016 so far. The biggest amount ever.
But the truly remarkable about this season is the race to 100. Other media have described the actual Premier League season being determined by the fear of missing out on the English Premier League's huge television money bonanza in 2016. GBP 100 mio being the number, every club that remains in the world’s leading football league in the next season 2016/2017 will receive as a minimum TV right payment; a simple increase of approximately 40% on the previous record. At the final of this race three teams will end in the vale of tears and three teams coming from the Championship will end up in wonderland. This time staying in Premier League or getting promoted to it is the jackpot of all times and can change the club’s future tremendously.
For the first time in English football history twenty Premier League and Championship teams from EPL’s middle field to the bottom of its league table and from Championship’s middle field to the top are part of this bonanza. And the January transfer window reveals this fascinating truth. The costs of relegation are at a one time high and caused an extraordinary spending on transfers of those clubs. Traditionally the January transfer window expenditures are way smaller than in the previous close-season window as most clubs are not willing to let players go and the team is more or less well-rehearsed.
The following patterns of the January transfer window are insightful for the race to 100":
The total spending for player transfers in the January window increased by more than 34% on previous season records to GBP 175 mio.
Most of this spending does not come from the top-flight clubs of Premier League but rather from the bottom clubs.
The six EPL bottom clubs invested more than GBP 90 mio in new players. Last season it was only GBP 20 mio.
The expenditures for players from overseas clubs almost doubled compared to January 2015 while transfers between Premier League clubs decreased.
The race to 100 also leaves its patterns in the Championship. Championship clubs transfer expenditures in January 2016 were approx. GBP 35m. The clubs in the top six league positions invested around 70% of this spending.
On February 2nd, a now famous quote went through the international sports media, characterising the current Premier League Season: “In the Premier League of 2016, it is fear of the void, rather than the pursuit of glory, that is driving spending to new heights.”
On May 15th the final results of the race to 100 will be fixed and are maybe be more important than the actual winner of the Premier League season 2015/2016.
Football is a fascinating game and a fascinating economy.