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Let the money flow: Tottenham are cashing in on Champions League football

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As a noble prophet once said: Show me the money!

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur are about 36 hours removed from their incredible display at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester that saw our beloved Lilywhites advanced to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Now that we’ve all had time to catch our breath, receive CPR and install pacemakers into all of our bodies, the ramifications of such a herculean achievement are moving to the forefront. Yes, we will all remember our beautiful Spaniard, Fernando Llorente, hip check the decisive goal into the net. We’ll also remember Sonny’s two goals in three minutes that turned the pace of the match up to 11 and ripped the knob off. We will also laugh and possibly shed tears of joy when seeing VAR take away Manchester City’s dramatic stoppage time goal.

While Ajax awaits Spurs in about two weeks’ time, we started doing some number crunching as to what a deep run actually means for Tottenham and the finances of the club. Funny enough, while I was going through UEFA’s payout system, user dt2332 was doing the same in our “Five Things” article after the City match so cheers to him and those who added to the information! I figured we can break it all down in one tidy article and bask in the moment because, while the game is about glory, it’s also about money.

UEFA’s website has the overall breakdown of the payouts that every club receives for being in the competition, and while it seems complicated, it’s actually a decent explanation from start to finish. Let’s go step by step and figure out the total payout the best we can:

Starting fees (€488m)

Each of the 32 clubs that qualify for the group stage can expect to receive a group stage allocation of €15.25m.

First part is easy. €15.25m for the club. We’re off and running.

Fixed amounts (€585m)

Group stage performance bonuses will be paid for each match: €2.7m per win and €900,000 per draw. Undistributed amounts (€900,000 per draw) will be pooled and redistributed among the clubs playing in the group stage in amounts proportionate to their number of wins.

Spurs picked up two wins and two draws in the group stage. That’s a total of €5.4m for the wins and €1.8m for the draws for a total of €7.2m.

Clubs that qualify for the knockout stage can expect to receive the following amounts:

• qualification for the round of 16: €9.5m per club

• qualification for the quarter-finals: €10.5m per club

• qualification for the semi-finals: €12m per club

• qualification for the final: €15m per club

• The UEFA Champions League winners can expect to pick up an additional €4m.

• The two clubs that qualify for the 2018 UEFA Super Cup can each expect to receive €3.5m, with the winners collecting an additional €1m.

As Spurs are in the semi-finals, we can check the boxes on the first three categories, equalling €32m. From here, it gets a little tricky.

Coefficient ranking (€585m)

A new ranking has been introduced on the basis of performances over a ten-year period. In addition to coefficient points accumulated during this period, this ranking includes bonus points for winning the UEFA Champions League/European Champion Clubs’ Cup, the UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup. On the basis of these parameters, a ranking has been established and the total amount of €585.05m has been divided into ‘coefficient shares’, with each share worth €1.108m. The lowest-ranked team will receive one share (€1.108m). One share will be added to every rank and so the highest-ranked team will receive 32 shares (€35.46m).

Basically, UEFA takes the 32 teams that made it to the group stage and ranks them in order of their coefficient at the time of the draw. Spurs were 14th in coefficient as they were in slot #7 of Pot #2, but Lokomotiv Moscow’s coefficient was terrible at 22.5. However, they were in Pot #1 because they won the Russian Premier League. Because of their placement, Spurs will receive €21.05m.

EDIT: I missed the “ten year coefficient” part on this. BostonSpurs pointed that out, so we actually get €15.52m for this part. There’s also a €1.2m remainder payment to make, so let’s add that up to €16.72m.

We can ignore Solidarity Payments because it doesn’t apply to Tottenham, so that brings us to the last category: Market pool.

Market pool (€292m)

The estimated available amount of €292m will be distributed in accordance with the proportional value of each TV market represented by clubs taking part in the UEFA Champions League (group stage onwards). The different market shares will be distributed to the participating clubs from each association.

The various amounts distributed from the market pool on a club-by-club basis depend on five factors:

1) the actual final amount in the market pool

2) the composition of the field of clubs participating in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League

3) the number of clubs from any given association competing in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League

4) the final position of each competing club in their previous season’s domestic championship

5) the performance of each club in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League

Firstly, good luck figuring this one out. This is based off of information that UEFA receives from the markets that broadcast the Champions League. While we don’t know what the number is going to be, remember that last year Manchester United took home €40.3m in total prize money, yet Chelsea actually earned more money from the market pool than United did the entire competition.

Spurs earned €61.3m last year. If you go by their performance, it can be broken down like this:

  • €15m initial payout
  • €14.4m wins/draws
  • €9.5m Round of 16 qualification
  • TOTAL: €34.9m
  • €61.3m minus €34.9m = Market share payout of €26.4m

It seems low, but given Spurs went out in the Round of 16 to Juventus, their market share probably took a hit. We’ll have to estimate this number because we’re not going to know until the competition is completed what it is, so let’s go conservatively and say €30m.

When it’s all said and done, here’s the complete breakdown of prize money earned:

  • Starting Fee: €15.25m
  • Group Stage Performance: €7.2m
  • Knockout round qualifications: €32m
  • Coefficient payout: €16.72m
  • Market Share: ~€30m

Current Payout: €101.17m (£87.5m)

You can almost hear Daniel Levy laughing in London...

The fun isn’t over, yet. If Spurs can manage to get to the final by knocking off Ajax, add another €15m to the total. Winning the whole thing means an additional €4m from becoming champions of Europe and either €3.5m or €4.5m for the UEFA Super Cup the following season. So, potentially, Spurs payout can increase to as much as ~€130m, depending on what their market pool payout is.

Mauricio Pochettino himself admitted that Spurs were ahead of schedule with the Champions League going into this season, stating that the club had been planning on achieving qualification when the stadium opened and they could attract players with their world class facilities. However, a funny thing happened to the plan: Spurs got really good. For all of the bad signings Spurs had, they found several gems and made a few of their own in the academy. It’s meant a meteoric rise on the European stage, and Spurs are showing no signs of slowing down.