Tuesday 20 October 2020 6:04 pm

Champions League 2020-21: How prize money is calculated and why the winners don't always get paid the most

Winning the Champions League is not just about the glory; it also comes with a major prize money windfall of more than €100m for the eventual winner.

Last season Bayern Munich earned an estimated €130m for lifting the trophy, while Liverpool pocketed €111m in 2018-19.

But precisely how much a run in European football’s top club competition ends up being worth is not just down to how many matches a team wins.

Historical success in the Champions League, the value of the television rights in a club’s home country and the previous season’s domestic league position all have an impact.

How Champions League prize money is calculated

Clubs who reach the Champions League group stage are guaranteed a minimum payment of €15m each.

That figure is then topped up depending on their group results, with each win worth an additional €2.7m and draws €0.9m.

Teams who reach the last 16 bank a guaranteed extra €9.5m, plus additional payments the longer they stay in the competition.

Quarter-finalists get a further €10.5m on top and semi-finalists another €12m.

Each Champions League finalist gets €15m, although the winners’ bonus is only a relatively meagre €4m.

So, in basic and performance-related terms, clubs who go all the way can expect at least €76m.

Now for the more complicated – and wildly fluctuating – bits: payments based on Uefa coefficient and broadcast market pool.

How Uefa coefficient affects Champions League prize money

A relatively recent addition to the prize money formula, this element is designed to ensure traditional big clubs get a bigger slice of the pie.

The better a team’s results in Europe over the previous 10 years, the better their coefficient – and the larger their share of this chunk of Champions League cash.

The highest-ranked side is due around €35m, while the lowest gets just over €1m, so the difference made by this factor is significant.

Real Madrid are top of the current coefficients, with Chelsea the best-placed English team in fifth. Ferencvaros of Hungary are bottom.

Top 10 clubs by Uefa coefficient

ClubCoefficient pointsCoefficient payout
Real Madrid380,000€35.5m
Bayern Munich318,000€34.3m
Atletico Madrid236,000€32.1m
Man Utd211,000€28.8m
Paris Saint-Germain205,000€27.7m
Man City188,000€25.5m
Data source: Uefa

How market pool affects Champions League prize money

The term ‘market pool’ refers to the total value of TV rights for the Champions League in a given country.

This element of the calculation is designed to reward countries who bring in the most money to Uefa’s coffers.

But it is then shared among the participating teams from that country based on two factors: how far they progress, and what position they finished in their domestic league the previous season.

This last point is designed to reward the actual league winners – in other words, to ensure that it means more to qualify as actual champions rather than in fourth place.

As an illustration, here is what it is estimated Premier League clubs earned from the market pool in 2018-19. The same mechanisms are in place for this season’s Champions League.

ClubReachedPrevious League
Man CityQuarter-final1€21.2m
Man UtdQuarter-final2€17.8m
Data source: Uefa

The upshot

With lots of factors, it is not as simple as the winners taking the biggest share of the Champions League prize money pot.

Liverpool win the 2019 Champions League
Liverpool won the Champions League but earned less in prize money than semi-finalists Barcelona (Getty Images)

Last season, Bayern won the competition but are likely to have received less than runners-up Paris Saint-Germain because of Germany’s small market pool.

In 2018-19, meanwhile, Barcelona banked more than winners Liverpool despite losing in the semi-finals, thanks to their high coefficient and the poor performance of other Spanish clubs boosting their market pool share.

NB: The total prize pool is expected to fall by up to four per cent this season due to coronavirus hitting Uefa revenues, but final figures have note been released at the time of publication.