Ekstraklasa clubs receive record payouts on bumper domestic TV contract
The Ekstraklasa, Polish soccer's top tier, is to pay out a record 225 million zlotys ($58.1 million) to its 16 clubs from the centralised commercial pot for the 2019-20 season, it has announced.
The total figure is 45 per cent up on last year, with champions Legia Warsaw earning 31.3 million zlotys, compared with the 18.2 million zlotys that 2018-19 title winners Piast Gliwice received.
Indeed, Gliwice earned more this season for finishing third (20.9 million zlotys) than for winning the title.
The winners of the Polish Cup final on Friday, either Cracovia or Lechia Gdansk, will earn another 3.2 million zlotys. They have already earned 12.3 million zlotys and 15.05 million zlotys respectively for their seventh- and fourth-place finishes.
The Ekstraklasa distributes money to its clubs based on seven criteria:
- 44 per cent is shared evenly, equal to 6.19 million zlotys to each club;
- 20 per cent historical ranking;
- 18 per cent on sporting performance, based on final league position;
- 14 per cent to the clubs that competed in Uefa competitions;
- 0.5 per cent solidarity payments to the bottom eight clubs;
- 2.5 per cent to clubs involved in the ‘Pro Junior System’ youth development programme; and
- 1 per cent parachute payment for relegated clubs.
The increase in payments is the result of an increased domestic rights deal with pay-TV's Canal Plus and TVP, the public-service broadcaster, worth almost 250 million zlotys per annum. That two-season deal began with the 2019-20 campaign, and is worth 60 per cent more than the previous deal covering 2015-16 to 2018-19.
Marcin Animucki, president of the Ekstraklasa, said: "At the beginning of the season, we were happy with the level of contracts with broadcasters and sponsors and the expected high payouts for clubs. However, we did not expect that during the season we will have to fight a real fight in defence of these budgets. The record funds that we are currently paying to the clubs are a kind of reward for the huge effort put in resuming and completing the games after the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have had a very hard time, when as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic in March, the games were suspended and, as a consequence, the possibility of implementing contracts with our partners was seriously questioned. However, the huge contribution of work on the part of Ekstraklasa and all clubs, which were very much involved and selected high-class experts for the work of the crisis team, as well as close cooperation with the Polish Football Association and the government, allowed us to prepare a well-thought-out and effective plan to return to the games.
"As a result, we resumed training at the beginning of May, and at the end of the month we resumed matches as one of the first leagues in Europe. Now, after the season ends last weekend, we can be proud that we were able to mobilize together and take effective steps despite the extremely difficult situation and the need to act in conditions of great uncertainty. It allowed us to successfully and, most importantly, in health, decide the results of the season on the pitch. I would also like to thank our media partners and sponsors who flexibly approached us in this non-standard situation and, as a result, we can make full payments to the clubs at an express pace."
Since the resumption of the 2019-20 season, the Ekstraklasa has struck international rights deals with Match TV (Russia), Sports Channel (Israel), Canal 11 (Portugal), Premier Sports (UK and Ireland), Sportdigital (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and the Spring Media agency (Sweden, Denmark and Norway).
An exclusive rights deal was already in place in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Slovenia and North Macedonia, where Telekom Austria's Planet Sport TV shows matches.
The league also operates Ekstraklasa.TV, the league's international over-the-top streaming platform, which costs €2.99 ($3.40) per game, €6.99 per month or €49.99 for the season.
Payments from Ekstraklasa to clubs for the 2019-20 season