Does Profit Influence Success in Football Clubs?

By Francisco Acosta

There is millions of dollars handled on the best Football Leagues of the world, but do their total Turnover ensures their clubs performance in major tournaments like the UEFA Champions League?

Here is a visualisation of how teams from the Spanish La Liga and English Premier League have performed.

About La Liga, EPL and UEFA Champions League

Never heard of La Liga? or the EPL?
Then you must have never heard of the Champions League.

Here is a brief introduction about them just in case this is all unkown.

La Liga Logo

The Spanish La Liga

The Primera DivisiĆ³n commonly known as La Liga, is the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system.
La Liga is contested by 20 teams, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the three lowest-placed teams relegated to the Segunda DivisiĆ³n and replaced by the top two teams in that division plus the winner of a play-off.

EPL Logo

The English Premier League

The Premier League is an English professional league for men's association football clubs, it is the country's primary football competition.
Contested by 20 clubs, it also operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League. At the end of each season, the bottom three clubs are relegated, with three promoted clubs from the Football League's Championship replacing them.

UCL Logo

The UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs.
It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champion (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of each UEFA national association.
The UEFA Champions League final is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

See it for yourself

Click through the seasons to find out each league's turnover and how well their teams performed in the UEFA Champions League

What is the result?

The English Premier League continues dominating the Finances across football compared to the Spanish La Liga but performance of their football teams have a different story.

It can be seen by the data provided that Spanish clubs have outpermorfed the English teams across the European Competition, with most of spanish clubs reaching further stages on the competition and more than one team has also won throughout the seasons from 2011 to 2015.

EPL Financial Chart

EPL Turnover by Season

This is how we can seee the incremental growth of the total turnover of the Football league in England.

As shown in the graph, it can be seen that there was significant growth of earnigns from the 2012-2013 season to the 2013-2014 season and it has continued to grow ever since.

La Liga Turnover by Season

The spanish football league also has incremental growth but not as much as the English Premier League.

As shown in the graph, it can be seen that their turnover growth increases by season but with a more moderate progression over the period of the 5 years from 2011-2015.

EPL Financial Chart

Statistical Question

Does the profit made by the Spanish La Liga and The English Premier League influences success of football (soccer) clubs in their respective competitive league and the European competition in a period of 5 years from 2011 to 2015?

Where does the Data come from?

The data showcased in this article helped further prove the question in hand. The data was collected from the official La Liga website, with access to their financial reports in which the results were recorded, also official statistical websites for sport related finances like Deloitte and Statista looking at the yearly income of the English Premier League and what ranking clubs have achieved over the mentioned years. I have also looked into different websites to confirm the findings and further my understanding.


For the season period starting at 2011 and finishing 2015, the English Premier League and the Spanish la Liga have significant difference in their turnover. While the EPL's turnover has pottentially increased from half of the time period, this has also increased the difference with La Liga's turnover, being at 33% from 20011-2013 and increasing to a 45% from 2013-2015.

Football clubs have a different case, while the common stereotype is to say "The one that makes the most money will outperform the others". The Spanish La Liga clubs have demostrated that even though their league might not make the most earnings, this does not stop them from performing better than the english clubs and even winning the UEFA Champions League.

So far, 2 different Spanish teams have won the Champions League during the mentioned time period, while only one English team has accomplished to win it. Taking another look at just reaching a certain stage in the competition also supports the Spanish teams supremacy, most of them have reach stages like Semi-finals and Finals unlike the English teams which have reached points like the Quarter-Finals or even just reaching the Round of 16 which is still a very low performance in a european competitons like the Champions League (this can be seen in the Interactive Visualisation above).


In conclusion after hours of research with the findings we can state that the football league with the most earnings does not entirely have the best performing teams in the European Competition, it can be assured that Spanish teams perform better across stages in the competition even though their league is not the one with the most earnings, nor the most pupular in the world.

Thus, the football league with the most earnings does not entirely assure that its respective teams perform better compared to other leagues like the Spanish La Liga.