The Price of Football

The Finance and Economics of the Beautiful Game

Kieran Maguire

Agenda Publishing

The Price of Football

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Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9781911116905

224 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $25.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9781911116899

224 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00

The Price of Football

The Finance and Economics of the Beautiful Game

Kieran Maguire

Agenda Publishing

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Professional football is the most popular sport in the world in terms of both spectator attendance and television viewing figures. As its popularity has grown, so has its monetary value. Kieran Maguire looks at the different ways in which professional football operates as a business—how clubs make their money or, more commonly, lose it. In particular he analyzes how success is measured by the different and often competing stakeholders in football clubs—owners, managers, fans, players, commercial partners, and the media. Throughout, he draws on a range of case studies using the finances of professional clubs in the UK and overseas to show how the traditional profit-based approach of limited companies applies to football.

The book begins by interrogating the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement of the football club and explains how assets are financed and how clubs account for players in different ways. The supply and demand of players and managers is examined, including the reasons for the rise in wage levels at the elite end. How clubs are traded, why they are bought and sold, and how they are valued is contrasted with other businesses. The rich variety of ownership models is explored, from the overseas government wealth fund to the wealthy individual’s vanity project. How ticket prices, the benefits and costs of television rights, and the success or otherwise of brand monetization impact on the finances of clubs are all explained, as well as the main causes of financial distress and why some clubs may be too big to fail.

At a time when many commentators bemoan the effects of “too much money” in the game, this clear-headed and rigorous analysis and presentation of the financial imperatives and challenges facing football will be welcomed not only by students of the industry but by the wider constituency of fans and supporters.

About the Author

Kieran Maguire is senior teacher in accounting and finance at the University of Liverpool Management School, where he teaches the Football Industries MBA. He regularly appears on television and radio commentating on matters relating to club finance.

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