According to AS, if Atlético successfully defends its UEFA Europa League title in Dublin next May, the club would earn a total of €8.4 million in prize money.
Though any amount of funds are certainly welcomed, this quantity pales in comparison with the earnings a Champions League berth would net us. Inter Milan, for example, raked in an astronomical €49 million on its way to the Champions League crown last season.
The 2011 Europa League final is three times more appealing, financially speaking, than its inaugural edition in 2010. UEFA has upped the stakes by raising the prize money for winning the championship to €3 million – up from €1 million just a season before.
Indirect sources of income can be just as important as direct winnings. European competition obviously brings a certain luster to the winning team that translates into spikes in the sale of club merchandise and tickets, and helps to lure in lucrative sponsorship and television contracts – all vital to keeping club coffers filled.
Atleti’s Champions and Europa League participation in the previous campaign yielded €23 million from all sources – the largest chunk of that pie coming from the primary phase of the bigger of the two UEFA competitions.
We have already witnessed some of the other welcomed benefits that go along with European glory this summer, as the trophy surely played a role in both helping to pay for and attracting the interest of our new recruits Fran Mérida, Filipe Luís and Diego Godín.
If the investment made in these fresh signings catapults the team to a top four finish, thereby securing much needed capital for the next couple of years – a red and white renaissance just might be in the making.