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Newcastle United PIF Reboot Nets Big Champions League Payday

The Saudi-funded group behind the on-field turnaround of Newcastle United is now seeing dividends off the field as well, with a guaranteed $60 million payout from its first UEFA Champions League qualification since 2003, and the prospect of millions more.

Monday’s scoreless draw with Leicester City earned Newcastle a place in the Champions League, with the Magpies securing at least fourth place in the 2022-23 English Premier League standings. The top four EPL teams will play in next season’s elite European club competition. Newcastle sits in third place, one point ahead of Manchester United heading into Sunday’s final match day of the season.

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In October 2021, Newcastle was in 19th place in the 20-team Premier League, when Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and Jamie Reuben’s RB Sports and Media bought the team for $415 million (£305 million).

Almost immediately after the sale, the club appointed a new board and hired a new CEO, a new sporting director and a new coach, Eddie Howe. The hiring spree that year increased the club’s operating expenses to $323 million, from $195 million the year before. A year after the takeover, during the summer and winter transfer windows, Newcastle spent a total of $350 million on new players but managed to stay within the EPL’s Financial Fair Play rules.

All that spending is paying off. Match-day revenues have been higher since the sale, and next season, Newcastle can expect to see its revenues rise from $220 million to $400 million with higher broadcast revenues and the lucrative Champions League payments. Participating in the prestigious tournament will guarantee around $62 million in prize money and media revenues, and an additional $25 million if Newcastle advances beyond the group stages. Last year’s winner, Real Madrid, earned $146 million in total, and 2021 champions Chelsea hauled in around $130 million.

Newcastle will also receive an extra $44 million from the Premier League as a merit payment for finishing in the top four, bringing its media revenues from the league to as high as $180 million.

The Champions League qualification should also help attract higher-paying sponsorship deals.

According to Sportico’s valuations, Newcastle is the 10th most valuable EPL team, worth an estimated $440 million.

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