It’s impossible to start anywhere else, really. The Champions League may be the most prestigious competition in club football, but it’s also the most lucrative.
Liverpool earned more than £100 million ($112m) from their run to the final in 2021-22, and have already pocketed over £33m ($37m) this time around, having qualified with some comfort for the last 16. Were they to make it all the way to the final again, they could add a further £37.5m ($42m) in prize money alone.
Add in the ‘coefficient payout’, which will earn the Reds close to £30m ($34m) on account of their third-placed ranking on the list, and the broadcast revenue, of which 50 percent is paid to national federations with 50% paid out in proportion to the number of games each club plays in the competition, and the financial incentives are obvious.
“That (a top-four finish) is always our goal at the start of the season,” Reds chief executive Billy Hogan told BILD earlier this year. “Of course, qualifying is important because of the turnover we can make in the Champions League.
“But the way we run the club is to make sure we’re as sustainable as possible. You can’t automatically count on Champions League qualification.”
Still, Liverpool have been able to count on Champions League football – and Champions League revenue – in each of the last six seasons, and that has played a huge part in the club’s growth, with revenue having reached £487m ($546m) in the latest published accounts, and projected to push past £600m ($673m) in the next set.
To lose such a lucrative source of income, even for just one season, would have a big impact.
We have seen the difficulties clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United have faced after falling off the Champions League gravy train, and the fear is that having contested three of the last five finals, Liverpool, too, could find themselves back on the outside looking in, where Europe’s top table is concerned.