Ever and Wales, and matches are played from August

Ever since its inception in 1992, the Premier League has been the top tier of English football and has claimed many spectators and admirers worldwide. It is comprised of twenty teams within England and Wales, and matches are played from August to May of the following year. Throughout the years, the Premier League has seen an outstanding transformation from a regular football league to a powerful business that has only been improving. The major contributor to the Premier League’s success is the vast amounts of wealth surrounding the league. Not only has it affected the fortunes and stature of the league, but also separated from other top leagues in terms of quality and revenue. This essay will analyse the growth of the Premier League from the beginning to current day, and how the Premier League’s wealth has contributed to it’s everlasting growth and success. The first section of the essay will look at certain figures about the Premier League, including player and manager transfer fees, wages, and TV rights deals and will examine what significance these values have had on the growth of the league. The essay will then examine four clubs who have had significant changes of fortune after an increase in sources of wealth, and will look at the positives and negatives of increased financial resources for clubs in the Premier League. The final section of this essay will look at the top six clubs in the Premier League and analyse to what extent wealth transformed these clubs from a football team into a global brand with millions of supporters between them.As mentioned before, the Premier League started in 1992, after the old “Division 1” league was restructured and renamed. The Premier League decided to split away from the Football League after Sky offered the Premier League a lucrative TV deal worth a staggering 191 Million pounds from the years 1992-197. This package broadcasted 60 games throughout each Premier League season, which totalled to 300 Premier League games for the 5 seasons of this deal. In an era where televisions and broadcasting were on the rise, it was the perfect opportunity for the league to broadcast the spectacular football it had to offer. As the years went on, the amount of money being offered to the Premier League increased to an incredible degree. From the 1997 season until the 2001 season, the Premier League saw an increase in TV rights deals by more than triple, bringing in 670 Million pounds in total during these five seasons. The current TV deal which runs from 2016 to 2019, will see the Premier League earn 5.136 Billion Pounds in TV revenue, 27 times more than the amount earned in its first ever season. Deals such as these have allowed the Premier League to evolve into a global icon in the Sports world. These TV right deals have allowed the Premier League to bring in viewers from all over the world, and has definitely allowed the league to grow as a business. This newfound wealth allowed for clubs in the Premier League to start spending a lot more money on player transfers and wages, bringing in new players to attract new supporters and improve the quality of the Premier League. Ever since the Premier League began, teams have spent millions of pounds to try and win the ultimate prize. In the first ever season, clubs within the Premier League spent a total of 54 Million pounds on player transfers. This was a turning point in the Premier League, because as the years go on, multi-million spending on players is becoming the norm and this was a big factor in the increase of quality within the Premier League. Comparing the inaugural season to current day, the 2017/2018 season saw transfer spending for the league exceed 1.4 Billion pounds collectively which has been a drastic increase compared to 1992. The increased wealth of the league has allowed for clubs to spend a lot more, which has seen a change in fortunes for certain clubs. With all the wealth circulating the league, a very common question is “Does an increase in wealth lead to an increase in success?” Success is a very vague term, however this section of the essay will focus primarily on fan opinion, trophy count, and other statistics that show a positive change in fortunes after an increase in finances. One example of is the evolution of Chelsea Football Club after Billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2004. Prior to the financial takeover, Chelsea were a club with limited success. In the 98 years before Abramovich took over, the club only amassed a total of eight major trophies, which is a shockingly low rate of a major trophy every 12.25 years. Despite finishing second place in 2003 and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, this was deemed not good enough by Abramovich and decided to sack manager at the time Claudio Ranieri. The transformation of Chelsea from a small club with ambition to a global powerhouse was recognised the summer of the takeover. With an increase in funds available to Chelsea after this takeover, the club were able to bring in an experienced manager in Jose Mourinho, and were ultimately able to start developing the club to start winning trophies again.Roman Abramovich’s buyout of Chelsea not only increased their spending capabilities, but saved the club from plunging into financial crisis (Scott, 2005). Chelsea’s very first season after the takeover resulted in Premier League success, winning it for the first time in their history along with achieving the most points in a single Premier League season to this day. Ever since the summer of 2004, Chelsea have won fourteen major trophies, including their first ever Champions League trophy in 2012. In Chelsea’s case, an increase in wealth has changed the fortunes of this football club for the better. The impact that Abramovich’s millions have also transformed Chelsea from a football club into a worldwide brand. Currently, they are the fourth richest club in England (Dawson, 2018) and are the seventh richest club in Europe (Dawson, 2018). Roman Abramovich’s love and desire to help the club has been the contributing factor in their vast amounts of success. The influence of Abramovich has also pleased the worldwide fanbase of Chelsea. According to a 2017 Fan and Hospitality survey conducted by Chelsea F.C, 72.5% of fans are satisfied with the current state of the club, the second highest percentage since the takeover. Overall, looking at fan opinion, trophy count and brand value, Chelsea’s resurgence has been led by a passionate owner with millions to spend. Without these millions, the club would have been a shadow of the powerhouse it is today.Another prime example of a club which has undergone an even larger overhaul is Manchester City. Throughout the 20th century, Manchester City were widely regarded as a club with very limited success. Two top division titles in one hundred years and as of 2018, they are the first and only club to have been relegated after winning the league in 1938 (The Sun, 2016). Life in Manchester ever since the inception of the Premier League has been ruled by Manchester United. “Not so long ago, Manchester did not have a derby. In its place was a blood sport with United playing the hound and City consigned to a life of purgatory as the fox.”(The Telegraph, 2010). This line taken from an article by the Telegraph supports the strong claims that Manchester was indeed, red. Just four months before an influx of finances had entered the club, they had lost 8-1 to a Middlesbrough team who were relegated the following season. The dream of Manchester City becoming just as big of a club as their neighbours seemed too good to be true. Looking at the final starting eleven before September 2008, over half of the players in the squad now play in lower divisions of the English Football League, while only ONE player has played consistently for the club since then (Bajkowski, 2013). After billionaire owners from the United Arab Emirates in September 2008, the club has gone from a club in the shadows of their more successful neighbours to arguably the best team in Europe. The money that was available to the club led to arguably the biggest transformation of a football club since the Premier League began. According to transfermarkt.com, a well respected statistics website for all aspects of football, Manchester City spent a net total of 130 million Euros, over double the net spend 62 million Euros the season before. After winning the 2011 FA Cup, their first major trophy in thirty five years (Robson, 2015), the impact was clear. The club had a brand value of  US$170 million which has risen to an astounding value of $1.02 billion in 2017. The new owners injected faith, belief and finances into a club which were lacking all three. A team which had battled endless relegation periods and questionable past ownership throughout the years 1997-2003 (Pollard, 2016) has now revolutionized into the fifth richest team in the world (Dawson, 2018) and with no clear problem in sight, the wealth of Manchester City is likely to dominate the Premier League for years to come. After these examples of clubs earning success through their high levels of finances, another two questions pop up. “Does increased wealth GUARANTEE success?” and “Is wealth crucial to be successful in modern day football?”  With reference to previously mentioned Chelsea and Manchester City, there is concrete evidence from statistics and other opinions that they have been extremely successful after financial takeovers. However, there are clubs in the Premier League who have had success without the luxury of an abundance of resources to work from. The prime and most recent example of a situation like this is Leicester City’s 2016 Premier League title win. With confirmation from the official Premier League website, only five different clubs have won the competition before 2016, those being Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. All of these clubs have similar attributes in terms of financial capability (at the time of success), squad depth, individual player talent and ambition to achieve success. A success story which did not involve high value transfers and lucrative player wages was in 2015 when Leicester City achieved the impossible using only the final characteristic: ambition. The previous season, Leicester City came off a remarkable recovery to finish 17th having been bottom of the league on Christmas 2014. The summer of 2015 saw the hiring of Claudio Ranieri as their new manager, which turned heads. “Claudio Ranieri? Really?” (Lineker, 2016) was a tweet by former player and avid supporter of Leicester City, Gary Lineker. Ranieri ironically was sacked by Chelsea the season before the takeover by Roman Abramovich, and little expected Ranieri to help Leicester maintain their place in the Premier League. Fast forward to May 2016 and Leicester City are champions of the Premier League with minimal spending on recruits and simply working hard. The season after saw the club participating in the UEFA Champions League for the very first time and were knocked out in the quarter finals, a very respectable place considering the state they were in two years prior. The story of Leicester City is nothing short of remarkable, “and to do it in the context of modern soccer, where big teams monopolize the talent, and where money talks … well, it’s surely unprecedented,” (Hill, 2016.) Despite the ambition of the players and the spirit of their eccentric manager, the success of Leicester City may never happen again. Despite this success being without a large amount of spending involved, there is a consensus that this feat was a one off miraculous event. The big clubs in the Premier League will continue to dominate the league for years to come, as their financial status and their recognizability as a elite force in Football will drive these clubs to future success. As amazing as Leicester’s story is, they are unfortunately not a big club in terms of trophy count compared to the top  six, and they are definitely nowhere near the same six in terms of global exposure. The wealth that these clubs possess have changed them from regular (to an extent) football clubs into large globalised brands that are known all around the globe.