The Greek football league may not be the most popular or sensational amongst the other European leagues, but according to a study conducted for the Super League by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research and the “Stochasis” Business Consultants firm, it is able to have a significant impact on the economy and growth potential.

The study found that the professional football teams contribute an estimated 1.2 billion euros to the economy on annual basis. This includes everything from tickets and bonuses for participating in European matches, to television broadcast rights, merchandising and gambling. The Super League alone contributes about 550 million euros to the government in taxes and employer contributions. In terms of employment, there are over 40,000 job positions in professional football in Greece.

Since the onset of the crisis, there has been a steady decline in Super League revenue; from 216 million euros in the 2009/2010 season, to 190 million euros in 2010/2011 and 175 million euros in 2011/2012. On the contrary, in 52 other European championships revenue increased by an average 9% during the same period.

This fall in revenue has prompted the Greek teams to take some initiatives, with the average price of the average ticket dropping from 12.8 euros in the 2007/2008 season to 10.1 euros in the 2012/2013 season. This 20% cut is significant for Greek team, because despite about 50% of the face value being taxes, tickets sales make up about 20% of the annual revenue of Greek teams.

Another glaring statistic is that in 2011 the Super League teams spent on average 93% of their total income to cover player and staff wages and expenses, when the average rate in other European countries was 65% in 2011 and 61% in 2012.

These dramatic changes in the economy have urged teams to reduce their expenses and one of the most efficient ways is for teams to reduce the number of foreign players. In the 2010/2011 season there were 193 Greek and 263 foreign players in the Super League, while in the 2012/2013 season there were 346 Greek and 142 foreign players.