Dutch and Belgian soccer clubs join forces in the Beneliga
Dutch clubs finally see the benefits of a Beneliga, says Thomas Peeters, Sports Economist at Erasmus School of Economics. Until recently, the Dutch clubs believed they had nothing to win in a joint competition, but that mentality is changing.
By joining forces, the Belgian and Dutch professional clubs can expect an increase in turnover of up to 35 percent. This revenue consists of a sum of TV rights, ticket sales and sponsorships. Especially on TV rights a considerable growth can be realised, Peeters thinks. If Belgium and the Netherlands are combined, a TV market comparable to those of countries like France, Italy and Spain. This is more than a double compared to the current situation, with a value of 450 to 500 million euros, says Thomas Peeters.
The question is amongst how many clubs the revenues should be divided. Only the eight Belgian and ten Dutch participants of the Beneliga or also the professional clubs that are not part of the competition? According to Peeters, even those non-participating clubs have to be convinced of the usefulness of the Beneliga. He therefore argues that profits should be shared in the form of solidarity payments. If you assume that 20 percent of 500 million euros is distributed among the small clubs, it would be about 100 million euros. Peeters assumes that that should be enough to keep everyone satisfied.
Currently, Belgium and the Netherlands each have five European places, which they would like to keep. It would be very optimistic to think that UEFA would award the Beneliga ten European tickets, says Thomas Peeters. According to him, the power of the major leagues within UEFA is strong and will not simply allow Belgium and the Netherlands to take more European places. Above all, the Beneliga should help to keep the door open to the European Cup. There is a plea for a new closed competition based on the American model, a so-called Breakaway League. The Beneliga makes it more difficult to ignore Belgium and the Netherlands in a new European top league, according to Peeters.
Influence of the corona crisis
According to Peeters the circumstances were never better to establish a Beneliga, with the corona crisis giving an extra push in the right direction. Especially the Dutch clubs depend on income from ticketing and entertainment around the stadium. This income is under pressure due to the corona crisis. The Beneliga would make clubs less dependent on this income, says Thomas Peeters.