How soccer became big business

Twenty teams. Thirty-eight games a team. Billions of people watching. The Premier League, England’s soccer entertainment empire, has enormous global reach—and it’s expanding every season. Our new Instaread looks at how the game has changed since the league was established in 1992.

The Birth of an Industry

In the 1980s, English soccer was struggling with sponsorship, advertising, and ticket revenue not even covering the costs of maintaining the stadiums. Violence among fans was rampant, the players were rough, and the game itself seemed unrefined. Soccer was simply not a good business in which to invest for profit. 

Until it was.

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