Lots of talk and bluster about the possible opponents in the next round of the Uefa Champions League. A trip to Germany or Spain awaits The Arsenal, while there is actually a 75 percent chance of avoiding Barcelona, the prevailing wisdom says a trip to Catalonia awaits us.
I wrote before that it would be better to avoid Barcelona in the next round without explaining quite why. You see it’s not that I think we can’t beat Barça, it is possible to get past them and if we do it will bode well for the next rounds.
It is more likely, however, that we may fall at that hurdle and if that happens then it will be more than just losing to the “greatest club in the world.” The problem I have with that is twofold. First of all, I hate those hypocritical, preening, bastards. I would much rather lose to Real Madrid than to Barça, much as I dislike Mourinho I’ll even be hoping he would eventually put those pricks out.
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The second problem with losing in the round of 16 is money. Unlike some clubs, The Arsenal can’t (or won’t) rely on a sugar daddy to hand over millions of pounds on demand. Income has to be earned by the sweat of our brow, and to that end going out in the first knock-out could cost us a minimum of £12m.
The numbers break down as follows:
£1m performance bonus for making it to the quarter finals, I’m assuming a win and a draw.
£3.3m For taking part in the quarter-finals, this is just appearance fee.
£3.3m gate receipts for one of the quarter finals matches.
£4.6m TV. Market money –
The Tv money is calculated as half the difference between United making it to the quarter finals (£28.8m) and Chelsea who was knocked out in the round of sixteen (£18m). Although this year the total TV pool has been increased, there are 4 English teams instead of 3 the Tv money for each premier league team will be lowered, hence why I used (£4.6m instead of £9.2).
Romantic as it is to go out in a blaze of glory, the financial difference between going out in the round of 16 and losing in the quarter finals is huge. Meeting Barcelona in the Semi finals or losing in the finals could be a £25 million pound difference.
So while it is true that to win the competition you have to beat the big teams, putting off those matches for later rounds makes a huge difference to a team that depends purely on self made income.
Here’s to getting Schalke in the next round.