Cyprus Mail

Leicester City, from rags to riches

Leicester City have the chance of making anything between 150 million pounds ($220 million) and 250 million pounds ($365 million) from their sensational Premier League triumph, according to sports marketing experts.

The city of Leicester in England’s Midlands should also expect to enjoy a huge commercial boost after its hometown team wrote the unlikeliest of sporting success stories, one that has captured headlines around the world.

Yet though the club known as the Foxes will gain this substantial windfall, they still have a long way to go to join the true big-money elite of world football.

The club that had never won the top-flight crown in its history will cash in through the 90 million pounds in prize money from the Premier League, and money from competing in Europe’s Champions League next season, as well as increased TV and match day revenue.

With Leicester’s increasing attraction to sponsors as the champions of the Premier League, which possesses remarkable global appeal, it could all be worth as much as 150 million pounds to the club, said the sports and entertainment intelligence firm, Repucom, on Tuesday.

Other experts have put the estimates much higher with some British media reports suggesting that the figure could be much nearer 250 million pounds, particularly if Leicester’s success proves to be more than a one-season wonder.

Leicester’s TV audiences have soared by over 23% globally this season and because of the excitement inspired by their run to the title, audiences in the UK have grown from 785,000 to over one million per game.

In Italy, the numbers watching Leicester’s games have doubled, largely thanks to the interest generated by the club being managed by Italian coach Claudio Ranieri.

“Leicester’s media values have jumped by 30 percent globally whilst in the U.S. they have grown by over 70 percent, showing first-hand the increase in value to current and potential sponsors,” Repucom said.

Leicester’s first appearance in the lucrative Champions League will also make a vast difference to their coffers in the region of 36 million pounds.

As well as increased TV exposure, it will generate increased revenues from group stage fees, a proportion of the competition’s market pool and a participation bonus, totalling 33 million pounds, as well as 3 million pounds performance bonus.

A story which had echoes of Leicester’s triumph was Atletico Madrid’s breaking of the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly to win La Liga in 2014.

Based on the increased match day and commercial revenues that unlikely champions Atletico gleaned, Leicester can expect to see between 10 to 15 million pounds boost in that area.

“Leicester City FC’s real commercial potential will become clearer in the season break as brands vie to associate themselves to the club,” Spencer Nolan, head of consulting at Repucom, said.

So, much will depend, in the mid to long-term on how successful the club, owned by Thailand billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, are in developing their fan base.

Though their victory was greeted enthusiastically in Thailand, where Srivaddhanaprabha’s family runs the duty-free empire King Power, their fan base is still not in the same league as the historic elite of the English game like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Leicester itself hopes for an economic boon, with the local newspaper, Leicester Mercury, reporting that financial experts believe the overall economy in the city could benefit to the tune of 49 million pounds.

The numbers of visitors to the city have grown rapidly since the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in 2012 and now tourism chiefs hope that being the home of England’s football champions will prove a draw card for Leicester too.

It’s 21 years since a team other than Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United have won the title and the Foxes fairytale story shows that you cannot always buy success. When the season kicked off in September, Manchester City’s squad was valued at £411 million. Leicester City won the Premier League this year despite having a squad worth a mere £53 million.

Infographic: Leicester City Displace Football's Financial Elite | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

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