English Premier League vs South African PSL – financials compared

Premier League - Son and Martial

South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) is among the richest football competitions in Africa – yet it pales in comparison to the globally-dominant English Premier League (EPL).

This will be unsurprising to anyone with even the most basic football knowledge, yet the sheer scale of the difference between these two leagues is fascinating.

Our analysis of the two leagues’ financials paints a picture of the opulent spending by football teams in the EPL.

Below, we cover key financial metrics within each league – including club market values, TV deals, viewership, transfer fees, and player wages.

Club market values

When comparing the finances involved in the two leagues, looking at each football club’s market value is a good place to start.

Using the well-respected German football data hub, Transfermarkt, the estimated value of each football club can be determined.

The most valuable club in South Africa is Mamelodi Sundowns – and by some margin.

It is valued at €29.4 million, followed by historical giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, valued at €19.75 million and €16.98 million, respectively.

Sundowns’ significant lead at the top of the PSL club value chart is thanks to its billionaire owner, Patrice Motsepe, who has spent lavishly on the top football talents in Africa. This has led to a six-year streak of Mamelodi Sundowns winning the PSL title.

Almost all the other football clubs in the 16-team league are valued at between €5.5 million and €11 million, and the least valuable team – Polokwane City FC – is valued at €3.9 million.

While these numbers may appear impressive, they are dwarfed by the teams in the EPL.

Two EPL teams are valued at over €1 billion – Manchester City and Arsenal FC – and ten teams (half of the league) are valued at over €500 million.

Even the least valuable club, Luton Town – for whom it was a fairytale story just to get promoted to the EPL – is valued at over €100 million – nearly four times the value of billionaire-owned African giants Mamelodi Sundowns.

A comparison of the total market value of the clubs from the two leagues can be viewed below:

Club values – EPL vs PSL
 PSL ClubPSL Club Value EPL Club EPL Club Value 
 Mamelodi Sundowns €29.4m Manchester City €1.29bn
Orlando Pirates  €19.8mArsenal  €1.12bn
Kaizer Chiefs  €17.0mChelsea  €980.5m
Supersport United  €10.8mLiverpool  €874.6m
Amazulu FC  €10.3mTottenham Hotspur  €773.8m
Stellenbosch FC  €10.2mManchester United  €739.3m
Cape Town City FC  €9.8mNewcastle United  €641.7m
Lamontville Golden Arrows  €9.6mAston Villa  €638.5m
Sekhukhune United FC  €9.2mBrighton and Hove Albion  €503.6m
Moroka Swallows FC  €7.5mWest Ham United  €451.6m
Richards Bay FC  €6.4mBrentford FC  €407.2m
Chippa United  €5.9mNottingham Forest  €389.8m
TS Galaxy FC  €5.5mCrystal Palace  €368.9m
Royal AM FC  €4.7mEverton FC  €336.9m
Cape Town Spurs FC  €4.7mWolverhampton Wanderers  €316.5m
Polokwane City FC  €3.9mAFC Bournemouth  €315.1m
Fulham FC  €313.5m
Burnley FC  €260.7m
Sheffield United €138.0m
Luton Town  €104.4m

Interestingly, a more level comparison can be made between the PSL and the third-highest league in the English football pyramid – EFL League One.

While the billionaire-owned Sundowns are more valuable than any of the EFL League One teams, most teams from both leagues average between €5 million and €15 million valuations.

Club values – PSL vs EFL League 1
 PSL ClubPSL Club Value EFL League 1 Club EFL League 1 Club Value 
Mamelodi Sundowns €29.4mPeterborough United€15.9m
Orlando Pirates  €19.8mDerby County€15.2m
Kaizer Chiefs  €17.0mBarnsley FC€14.2m
Supersport United  €10.8mReading FC€13.7m
Amazulu FC  €10.3mCharlton Athletic€12.7m
Stellenbosch FC  €10.2mBlackpool FC€12.4m
Cape Town City FC  €9.8mPortsmouth FC€11.5m
Lamontville Golden Arrows  €9.6mBolton Wanderers€10.2m
Sekhukhune United FC  €9.2mWigan Athletic€9.9m
Moroka Swallows FC  €7.5mBristol Rovers€9.2m
Richards Bay FC  €6.4mOxford United€9.1m
Chippa United  €5.9mExeter City€8.4m
TS Galaxy FC  €5.5mLincoln City€8.2m
Royal AM FC  €4.7mFleetwood Town€7.8m
Cape Town Spurs FC  €4.7mWycombe Wanderers€7.0m
Polokwane City FC  €3.9mPort Vale FC€7.0m
Stevenage FC€6.7m
Carlisle United€6.7m
Shrewsbury Town€6.6m
Northampton Town€6.2m
Leyton Orient€6.2m
Cambridge United€5.6m
Burton Albion€5.4m
Cheltenham Town€4.3m

TV rights

One of the biggest reasons for the EPL’s financial dominance is its large TV rights deals – driven by the league’s incredible popularity.

In December 2023, the EPL announced it had agreed to a four-year domestic TV rights deal with Sky Sports, TNT Sports, and BBC Sport to a total value of £6.7 billion.

This does not account for overseas TV rights – for which revenue recently surpassed the league’s domestic TV rights.

The PSL’s rights pale in comparison.

The most recent TV rights deal – which expires at the end of the ongoing season – amounted to approximately R2.2 billion (£90.29 million) – paid by Supersport for a five-year licence.

There is no international rights deal to sell, as the PSL has a negligible fanbase outside South Africa.

The EPL and PSL domestic TV rights deals are compared below.

Domestic Broadcasting Deal – PSL vs EPL
PSL DealPSL Deal Years Cost per Year EPL Deal EPL Deal Years Cost Per Year 
£90.29m  5  £18.06m£6.7bn 4£1.675bn


These numbers are interesting, considering that the PSL’s local viewership is comparable to the EPL’s.

According to Cash N Sport, the most watched PSL match of 2023 was the Soweto Derby match (Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates) that took place on 11 November.

It was viewed by 7.46 million South Africans across SuperSport and the SABC, which has a deal with SuperSport to show a selection of PSL matches.

For the EPL, the first five matches of the 2023/24 season – which happen simultaneously and usually rank among the most watched of the EPL season – accrued over 8 million domestic viewers. This is not much more than the 7.46 million viewers who watched the Soweto Derby.

It is important to note that the Soweto Derby is much more popular than other PSL matches. The tenth most-watched football match in the country through 2023 drew 3.27 million viewers – less than half of the Soweto Derby’s viewership.

Nonetheless, compared to the financial numbers we have previously detailed, the domestic viewership numbers are far closer to those of the EPL than the domestic broadcasting deal figures suggest.

Transfer fees

Perhaps the least surprising fact in this article is that the money EPL teams spend to buy players is in another realm compared to the spending in the PSL.

EPL teams have spent over €100 million on a single player on six occasions, and the €50 million mark has been passed 71 times.

In contrast, only once in the history of the PSL has a team paid over €1 million for a player – the signing of Marcelo Allende by Mamelodi Sundowns for €2.9 million in the 2022/23 season.

Sundowns have spent €800,000 or more on four other occasions, and only one other PSL club has ever hit this mark – Jomo Cosmos when they signed Dipsy Selolwane for €800,000 in the 2007/08 season.

Record Transfer Fees – PSL vs EPL
  PSL PlayerPrice EPL Player Price 
 1Marcelo Allende €2.9mEnzo Fernandez €121m
 2Mbulelo Mabizela  €900,000Jack Grealish  €117.5m
 3Ronwen Williams  €880,000Declan Rice  €116.6m
 4Jeremy Brockie  €805,000Moises Caicedo  €116m
 5Rivaldo Coetzee  €800,000Romelu Lukaku  €113m

Player wages

Wages are more difficult to quantify, particularly in South Africa, where these numbers are less widely available than in the world’s biggest leagues.

However, Keagan Dolly is widely believed to earn the highest salary in the PSL – with estimates ranging from R1.1 million to R1.45 million per month.

Reports also indicate that between 5 and 10 other PSL players earn R500,000 per month or more, with star names like Khama Billiat, Deon Hotto, and Samir Nurkovic commonly said to be earning in this range.

In contrast, Kevin de Bruyne is believed to be the EPL’s top earner, with a weekly salary of approximately £400,000. This translates to £1.73 million per month, or R42.17 million monthly.

This means the top earner in the EPL earns at least 29 times the monthly salary of the PSL’s top earner.

Furthermore, 27 EPL players are believed to earn £200,000 per week or more (R21.09 million per month).


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