Liverpool, Bayern and Ajax earn maximum income from UCL group stage

Allianz Arena Bayern Münich

Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Münich and AFC Ajax have earned the maximum amount of payments from the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League group stage. A direct consequence of having won their six group stage matches and qualifying for the next round.

Yet, despite all three clubs getting a perfect score during the group stage phase, they have amassed different amounts of payments from the competition. They also do not make up the top three clubs who have earned the most from the UCL so far. Only Bayern, with €77.287 million, makes that list by ranking first. Liverpool (€64.78m) and Ajax (€62.506m) are respectively seventh and tenth, with clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG all earning more.

Top 10 highest earners 2021-2022 UCL group stage

RankClubPayment group stage (in million Euros)
1Bayern Münich77.287
2Real Madrid75.624
6Manchester City64.865
9Manchester United62.788
10AFC Ajax62.506

Payments consist of four parts

The reason for these differences is found in how UEFA calculates the distribution. Payments for clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League consist of four parts: a starting fee (25%), performance related fixed amounts (30%), coefficient-based amounts (30%) and a variable market pool share (15%).

For the 2021-2022 season, UEFA estimates to receive €3.5 billion in gross revenue from European club competitions. An amount accompanied by an asterisk, given the unstable market conditions due to, among others, the COVID-19 pandemic. From this amount, €2.002 billion will be shared by the clubs that have reached the Champions League group stage. At the end of the season, UEFA will apply a COVID-19 impact deduction per club based on a club’s domestic competition and income.

Starting fee and performance based bonus

All 32 teams that participated in the group stage receive a starting fee of €15.64 million. In addition, they receive a €2.8 million bonus for every win during the group stage, while a draw generates €930.000. (The undistributed amounts from draws are pooled and distributed based on performance.)

By winning all their group stage matches and thus qualifying for the round of 16, Liverpool, Bayern and Ajax receive €16.8 million in performance bonuses and €9.6 million for qualifying for the next round.

Coefficient-based amount

The coefficient-based amount each club receives partly explains the differences between clubs. A total of €600.6 million is divided into shares with each share worth €1.137 million. Based on a ten-year coefficient ranking teams receive a number of shares. The highest-ranked team receives 32 shares (€36.38m) and the lowest-ranked team receives one share and thus €1.137 million.

Real Madrid currently tops the ten-year ranking and receives €36.38 million from this pool. Add to that the performance based bonuses of winning five matches (€14m), a starting fee (€15.64m) and a knockout round fee (€9.6m) and their total payment amounts to €75.624 million so far. Only Bayern, ranked second on the ten-year ranking, can better this with their perfect score in the group stage. Liverpool and Ajax get a much smaller share based on the coefficient ranking. The Premier League team receives €22.74 million, while the Dutch club receives €20.466 million.

Market pool

The fourth part clubs receive is from the market pool, which is worth an estimated €300.3 million. At the end of the season UEFA will be able to calculate how to distribute this amount. As it is based on the proportional value of each TV market represented by the various clubs, it will favour clubs from the Big Five leagues.

Further progression

For each additional round that clubs qualify, they can expect to receive an extra performance based payment. Qualification for the quarterfinals adds €10.6 million, the semi-finals €12.5 million and the final in Saint Petersburg €15.5 million. The winners receive €4.5 million. They also qualify for the UEFA Super Cup where €1 million is up for grabs for the winner, in addition to a guaranteed starting fee of €3.5 million.

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