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September 3, 2014

Premier League summer spending was out of control - A Story

Tonight while I was running and listening to the 5 Live Football Daily podcast, I heard a very interesting stat: Premier League clubs spent more on summer transfers than the GDP of 14 countries. This sounded too crazy to believe, so I made a mental note to look into it after I got home. I spent the better part of the rest of the evening re-hydrating and finding data to tell the story you see below about the insanity that is Premier League transfer spending.

I created most of the charts you see on my commute into work on the shuttle and polished it up after breakfast. What was most fun about creating this story was the process itself; I went from idea to data to vizzes to story in a very short amount of time.

My advice to you: If you hear an interesting fact, look into it.  Find some data. Tell the story in your own words. It's a great way to practice and develop your craft.


  1. Wow - great story and shocking results. It'll be interesting to see what the consequences are on the game in the future. Will it weaken the league? Will it become too expensive for it's fans? Will the fans be expecting a bigger bang for their buck? Will we have to start throwing Christians to the lions for higher excitement and cost savings?

    For kicks and giggles, I'd also like to see someone calculate the cost of game interruptions for all those fake 'owies', especially for expensive players.

  2. The money spent by the clubs is an order of magnitude lower than what is shown in the graphic as "Amount Spent". Looks like you forgot one part of the equation :-). Namely the amount that was received by the clubs for the sale of their players. So for instance the money spent (source: by Chelsea was £19,000,000 not £88,000,000, or Liverpool £38,000,000 instead of £113,000,000 as shown in the workbook. Remember Suarez ? :-)

    1. Helmuth, I actually do talk about that, but you're referring to net spend, whereas I'm referring to outlay.

  3. Great story!
    Premier League is always an inspiring source of information.