Who really got ripped off on transfer deadline day: Real Madrid or UK businesses?

Deadline Day

The numbers involved in football transfers are staggering; a total of £630 million was spent on transfers by Premier League clubs during the summer transfer window according to Deloitte - and £140 million of that was spent on deadline day - a day where football fans endlessly refresh the live blogs to find out the latest goings on in the often-frustrated hope of seeing their club signing some exciting new players. The biggest deal of the summer, however, was a transfer out of the UK: Spanish Giants Real Madrid spending £85.3 million on one player - Welshman Gareth Bale.

Yet UK businesses felt the impact too: workers checking the latest updates online during working hours were paid £102 million by UK firms for effectively doing nothing, equating to 8.7 million lost working hours and 1.35 million lost working days.

So now deadline day is over, we ask: who got the worst deal? Premier League clubs spending £140 million? We doubt that, because most will be happy with the additions to their squads, and those who did shell out will at least have kept the fans happy. What about Real Madrid spending £85.3 million on just one player? Bale is now the most expensive footballer in the world, but he is a rather talented chap, and the Spanish team will be expecting to see performances improve to the point that the money spent isn't so much of an issue. UK businesses, however, have shelled out £102 million to their workers for no return whatsoever.

Working out this figure involved some rather complex calculations. We'd give you a full explanation but unfortunately the person who did this is now in a dark room gibbering uncontrollably, so we'll give you the short version. We delved into the latest data from the ONS Labour MarketSurvey, finding that the UK has a workforce of 29.78 million, working an average day of 6.4 hours. If a football fan spends three minutes checking for updates on the latest transfer dealings every 15 minutes, that's 1.27 working hours lost during the day.

But how many football fans are there in the UK? A 2012YouGov Survey revealed that 23 per cent of the population are "very interested" in football, meaning 6.85 million UK workers. Crunch the numbers for lost working hours, the average UK wage and the amount of football fans and you have UK businesses paying employees £102 million while they check on the latest transfer dealings. Working back on the data and that equates to 8.7 million lost hours, or 1.35 million working days.

A nine-figure sum lost by UK businesses on one day - all to satisfy the football obsession. The next transfer deadline day is January 31st and companies will undoubtedly lose out again while clubs spend vast fortunes - by which time Real will have paid Bale £6 million.