After Volleymob published an article on Zenit Kazan paying the CEV $310,000 to host the CEV Champions League Final Four, I decided to go into debt about how much it costs to participate in the CEV Champions League, without regard to revenue.
With the CEV Champions League at the end of the domestic 2016-2017 seasons, a total of 12 teams qualify directly to the 2017-2018 CEV Champions League. There are an additional 20 teams, that have to play through two qualifying rounds (2nd Round and 3rd Round per CEV documents). In the two qualifying rounds, each team is required to pay €2,000 (US$2,457) as an entry fee per round. So if a team had to play in both qualifying rounds, it would cost €4,000 (US$4,914) in entry fees alone. Additionally teams are required to pay for their own air travel and hotel accommodations each round until the Final Four.
Sir Sicoma Colussi Perguia joined CEV Champions League Competition in the 3rd Round of Qualifying, facing Shakhtior Soligorsk of Belarus. Even though there is an airport in Perugia, they cannot directly fly to Minsk, which is the nearest airport to Soligorsk. The team would probably have to connect through Rome, either by bus (2 hrs) or by airplane, which does have a direct flight to Minsk. However, connecting flights are available as well, other than a significant increase in travel time there can be a cost reduction for the team possibly. With a maximum of 25 players and team personnel traveling on two weeks notice, the airfare would not be cheap. Using Travelocity today (April 22nd) with a two week gap, roughly matching those from the 2nd Round to the 3rd Round of Qualifying), a round-trip ticket would be $585 on Lufthansa for a 5 or 6 hour connecting flight. This price of course is for one person, not 25 people. Even if we kept the price the same, if all 25 people traveled round trip the cost would be $14,625. So not including hotel rooms and buses to Rome or in Minsk it would Sir Sicoma Colussi Perugia $17,082 just to play in the 3rd Round. And we are not mentioning player salaries either.
By defeating Shakhtior Soligorsk, Perugia advanced to the Fourth Round or Group Stage. By making this round, all qualified teams (12 directly + 8 through qualifying) now have to pay an additional entry fee of €25,000 (US$30,710). However, the teams that had to go through qualifying rounds will be able to deduct their previous rounds fees, and instead Perugia will only have to pay €23,000 (US$28,253). In the Fourth Round or Group Stage, teams have three road matches. Perugia got lucky when Cucine Lube Civitanova was drawn in their group. The city of Civitanova Marche, where Lube is located, is only a 1.5 hour bus ride from Perugia, greatly saving the team money instead of having to fly. The other two teams Knack Roeselare (closest airport Brussels), and Fenerbahce Istanbul would have flights. The flight to Brussels would be $8,450 for the team ($338 per person round trip) and then adding Istanbul would be $6,925 ($277 per person round trip). So at the end of the Group Stage, the total for airfare and entry fees for Perugia was $60,710.
By advancing to the Playoff 12, Perguia faced Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow (closest airport Warsaw). The CEV says that teams have to pay €8,000 (US$9,827) in entry fees and then with $18,800 in direct flight airfare ($752 per person round trip). For another $28,627 just for the Playoff 12. Grand total is now $89,337 without hotel rooms or bus travel.
With the win over PGE Skra Belchatow, Perugia would face Russia’s Lokomotiv Novosibirsk in the Playoff 6. The entry fee from the CEV is now lowered to €5,000 (US$6,142) for the Playoff 6. Round trip airfare for the team would be $13,525 ($541 per person). Grand total of airfare and entry fees have now reached $109,004.
By defeating Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, Perugia has advanced to the Final Four and will only have to pay for round trip airfare and Zenit Kazan as organizer is required to pay for the accommodations of the participating teams. The CEV states that 26 people instead of 25 can travel to the Final Four, so add another $11,440 in round trip travel to Kazan ($440 per person).
So let’s add up the cost by round
- Third Round TOTAL $17,082
- Entry Fee $2,457 (€2,000)
- Airfare (25 people) to Minsk $14,625
- Fourth Round or Group State TOTAL $43,628
- Entry Fee $28,253 (€23,000)
- Airfare (25 people) to Brussels $8,450
- Airfare (25 people) to Istanbul $6,925
- Playoff 12 TOTAL $28,627
- Entry Fee $9,827 (€8,000)
- Airfare (25 people) to Warsaw $18,800
- Playoff 6 TOTAL $19,667
- Entry Fee $6,142 (€5,000)
- Airfare (25 people) to Novosibirsk $13,525
- Final Four TOTAL $11,440
- Airfare (26 people) to Kazan $11,440
- GRAND TOTAL OF ENTRY FEES & AIRFARE $120,444
This is a significant sum of money, without including hotel accommodation or transportation. However, there is also the cost of the Challenge System, which is required by the host of each match in the Fourth Round through the Final Four at a substantial cost.
The CEV has not publicized the amount of money for the team that wins the CEV Champions League, so it is difficult to estimate whether a team can be profitable playing in the champions league. However, we can see with the above data, teams would need to win in front of a sold out home arena to have a chance at being profitable.