It’s no secret that cash rules everything around European soccer. Bayern Munich are certainly no exception. Predictably, Real Madrid were the big winners of the Champions League, not only in silverware, but also in the reported 88 million euros they took home from that competition alone. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich took home 70 million for their efforts, but the cash payouts don’t tell the whole story as to how clubs get compensated.
It pays to be a winner, but it pays even more if you happen to win in a big television market where you can make millions more euros even if you finish behind a more successful club in the standings. For example, Arsenal, which bowed out in the semifinals of the Europa League, took home 37 million euros. This was a full 15 million more than Marseille, who were the runners-up for the tournament. This kind of market pool payout has been criticized before as furthering the divide between the “have” and “have not” clubs.
This inherent inequity has led to UEFA making a change to the way the TV money is distributed. Only about 15% of the estimated two billion euros in prize money will be allocated based on the market a given team is in. Much more emphasis will be placed on previous success in the UCL tournament, with a 10-year coefficient factoring in to 30% (roughly 585 million euros) to be distributed. While that’s a nice tip of the hat to clubs in small markets, it still increases the monetary divide in UEFA club soccer. Bayern of course still stand to do just fine with this system in place. However, in the current set up — namely, success begets money, which begets better players, which begets more success ad infinitum — don’t expect many of Bayern’s fellow DFB compatriots to make any deep runs any time soon.