London: English Premier League football clubs posted a pre-tax profit last season for the first time in 15 years thanks to increased television cash and a reduction in wage growth.
According to a report released by business advisory firm Deloitte on Thursday, the 20 teams in 2013-14 generated a combined pre-tax profit of $283 million - the first profit since 1999.
Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (2R) heads the ball to score their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane in London. Pic/AFP
The 2013-14 season was the start of a three-year television deal worth more than $8 billion for the world's richest football league.
Despite the huge rise in revenue, clubs have exercised a great deal of restraint on their spending on player wages, which grew by six percent to $2.8 billion. The wages-to-revenue ratio fell to 58 per cent - the lowest since the 1998-99 season, when the clubs were last collectively in profit.
"In the first year of the preceding two broadcast deals, 56 per cent and 81 per cent of respective revenue growth was absorbed by wage costs," said Dan Jones from Deloitte's Sports Business Group.
"This time it is less than 20 per cent. Over the previous 10 seasons wages grew by around nine percent per year, which is higher than the average annual revenue growth of seven per cent over that period, demonstrating further what a remarkable turnaround the 2013-14 figures represent," he added.
But it comes at a time when the Premier League clubs are struggling in European competitions.
There are no Premier League teams in the Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons and no English teams in the last eight of any European tournament for the first time since 1993.