Leicester fairytale to end with cash jackpot

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London (AFP)

Leicester City are on course for a windfall of more than $220 million for winning the English Premier League, a new study said.

The money would come from the Premier League's huge television revenues, playing in the Champions League, new sponsorship and higher gate receipts, the Repucom sports data firm said.

Leicester became England's most unlikely champions after Tottenham Hotspur failed to get the win at Chelsea on Monday that would have extended the Premier League race for another weekend.

According to the study, Leicester are set "to make over £150m" ($220 million/191 million euros) from claiming the Premier League title.

The cash would come from:

-- Potentially more than £90 million from winning the Premier League against £72 million when they came 14th last season.

-- They would get £33m just for appearing in the group stages of next season's Champions League, with another £3m waiting in performance bonuses.

-- A third place finish in their group would guarantee a place in the Europa League and another £20m.

-- Higher match day and commercial revenues could bring another £10m-£15m.

Repucom said: "Leicester City FC’s real commercial potential will become clearer in the season break as brands vie to associate themselves to the club and in turn, the league winners aim to maximise the returns their status could command."

The spectacular rise by Claudio Ranieri's side has seen their TV audiences increase by more than 23% around the globe, which increases their value with potential sponsors, the study said.

British television audiences have risen 29% from 785,000 to more than one million a game. In Italy, Ranieri's home country, television viewing of the team has doubled.

Repucom said increasing its worldwide fan base "remains central to realising the club’s full potential". It said Leicester's social media growth highighted how much the club could increase earnings.

The number of followers of Leicester's Facebook page has risen 540% over the season to more than three million "representing one of the fastest growing accounts of any sports team globally."

The 500,000 followers in Algeria -- the home country of star player Riyad Mahrez -- represents Leicester’s largest fan base, having risen from 23,000 at the start of the season.

The 221,000 followers in Thailand -- home country of Leicester owner Vichai has grown 117% over the season.

The 155,000 in Italy has risen from 6,000 when the campaign began.