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UK soccer spending set to top £1bln

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - 02:36

Clubs in the UK Premier League have spent a record £835 million on new players during the summer transfer window. Sonia Legg looks at what's fuelling the spending frenzy and asks if it can be sustained.

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He's only on loan but Manchester United will reportedly have to pay Radamel Falcao almost £40,000 a day in wages. That's on top of a £6 million loan fee to Monaco - taking the club's total spend on the 28-year-old striker to around £20 million. Man U also signed Netherlands defender Daley Blind from Ajax for £14 million as the transfer window closed. And that came just days after they agreed to pay close to £60 million for Angel Di Maria. The club has spent £150 million so far this season - and they are only one of many big spenders. The UK Premier League splashed out a record £835 million during the summer transfer window - that's £200 million more than last season. £530 million of that has gone to European clubs. The League is on course to top £1 billion by the end of the season for the first time ever. But where's it coming from? Robert Haigh is from Brand Finance. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT HAIGH, BRAND FINANCE, SAYING: "The game has really been transformed over the last 20 years. It has become a lot more family friendly so that has helped match day revenues because it has become a much more pleasant, enjoyable place to spend a Saturday. That has also helped commercial and broadcasting revenues because advertisers and sponsors are much more happy to associate themselves with the sport of football and they believe they can reach a much broader mix and a larger number of people." Billionaire owners are changing English soccer. Numerous top flight UK clubs now benefit from foreign investment. Some say it creates an unlevel playing field. 7IM's Ben Kumar sees no harm in the phenomenon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BEN KUMAR, 7IM, SAYING: "If these billionaires want to keep forking out billions and billions of their own money in order to make sure the Premiership remains one of the highest quality forms of entertainment in the world - that's sort of ok isn't it? Don't we all benefit from people committing to make a loss." But the model could be changing. The Middle Eastern owners of Manchester City want to build a global brand by owning a network of international teams. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT HAIGH, BRAND FINANCE, SAYING: "There's less of a willingness for clubs to be run unsustainably and for billionaire investors to waste or plough their funds into clubs. But they are undoubtedly a fantastic trophy asset and they can be useful for all sorts of different projects not just the love of the game." But it's the love of the game that's making the sport a money-spinner. And with growing interest in soccer in the United States, China and even India there are plenty of untapped markets. Wondering how to spend more than a quarter of a million a week could soon be a dilemma facing many more soccer stars.

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UK soccer spending set to top £1bln

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - 02:36