Celtic earned around €7.91m in UEFA prize money this season - what did we miss out on?

By John McGinley

February 28, 2020

Celtic have exited Europe in heartbreaking fashion, failing to progress through a knockout round in either UEFA competition yet again.

Last night’s defeat to Copenhagen was incredibly frustrating and will go down as one of the great missed opportunities of modern times at the Hoops.

It’s a sad end to what was an exciting European journey that saw us experience the depths of the Champions League defeat to Cluj and the double-header wins over Serie A high-flyers Lazio.

That loss to the Romanian champions prevented us from earning serious money in Europe’s premium competition and while the Europa League offered much less scope to rake in the cash, we did manage to secure quite a bit of prize money.

All figures in this article are based on UEFA’s own published information on money available to teams in 2019/20. (Champions League & Europa League)

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How much could Celtic have earned in the Champions League?

Just by participating in the group stage of the competition, the Hoops would have earned a staggering €15.25m in prize money alone by default, before factoring in any ticket sales or TV market pool cash.

Significant rewards would have then been on offer based on performance with €2.7m per win and €900,000 per draw up for grabs for the 32 teams involved.

In the unlikely event that we would have made it into the last 16, another €9.5m would have been made available.

Clearly, by not living up to expectations as seeds in the champions route of qualification, we have missed out on quite the payday.

(Photo by Valerio Pennicino – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

How much did Celtic actually earn in prize money from Europe this season?

The cash started rolling in early given Celtic’s participation in the Champions League qualifying process. Making it to the third qualifying round of the champions route, through rounds one and two, ensured we earned €1.14m.

Beating AIK in the Europa League play-off round then bagged us €2.92m for playing in the group stage.

A fantastic showing by Lennon’s team then resulted in millions of Euros more, with €570,000 available per win and €190,000 per draw. Four wins and a draw, therefore, saw us rake in €2.35m.

As group winners, Celtic also received a further €1m, with another €500,000 awarded for participation in the Round of 32.

Added up, the total prize money earned this season stands at €7.91m, which today converts to £6.82m.

Celtic Park before a Europa League game / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

More will be added onto that too, with undistributed amounts (€190,000 per draw) to be pooled and redistributed among the clubs playing in the group stage in amounts proportionate to their number of wins.

An amount of €84m has also be divided into ‘coefficient shares’, each worth €71,430. The lowest-ranked team, across a ten year period, will receive one share (€71,430). One share will be added to every rank and so the highest-ranked team will receive 48 shares (€3.42m).

Then there’s the stadium sell-outs and TV revenue to consider.

What could we have earned in the Europa League knockouts

Progression to the last 16 and beyond would have resulted in even more prize money of course, with the following on offer:

  • Qualification for the round of 16: €1.1m
  • Qualification for the quarter-finals: €1.5m
  • Qualification for the semi-finals: €2.4m
  • Qualification for the final: €4.5m

The Europa League winners can expect to collect an additional €4m on top of all that.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be Celtic’s destiny and we’ll now have to refocus our efforts on domestic action, with the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup up for grabs.

Celtic in Europa League action / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If we manage to secure nine-in-a-row then clearly the goal will be navigating the Champions League qualification process this summer in order to make it back to the continent’s premier competition.

Playing at the level is, of course, more difficult but the cash rewards on offer take our revenue into a new tier.

Hopefully, Neil Lennon and his men have learned their lessons from this year’s European campaign and they give it a better shot next term.