Reigning Premiership and European champions Exeter have recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.26m for the financial year ending June 2020.
Financial figures are down across the board for Chiefs as the effects of the first three months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic show a significant drop from the club’s performance in 2019.
Boosted by CVC’s acquisition of a stake in PRL, worth £14.1m, Exeter announced a record £21.7m in turnover for 2019. But that figure has fallen by £4.73m in the latest accounts.
The absence of fans since March 7 last year has led to a crushing absence of gate receipt income as well as hospitality at Sandy Park.
“Obviously our financial results have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 but we are delighted with our performances on the field,” chairman and chief executive Tony Rowe stated in the club’s annual report.
“During the period to March 2020 when supporters were allowed our average attendance was only slightly less than the record set in 2018-19 and there is no doubt it would have been exceeded if the season had continued as normal, as would our other key performance indicators particularly relevant to match-days.”
On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England was on track to see its lockdown eased in line with the dates set by the government’s roadmap.
That means crowds of up to 10,000 spectators (25% of capacity) will be allowed at sporting venues in May.
“To have lost that money is obviously worrying, there’s not point saying any different. To be losing any money in a business is a worry, to lose that amount of money is significant,” Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Sport.
“Having said that, in the current climate it’s probably pretty good, we’ve had zero crowds, zero bar takings, reduced funding in other areas so there’s an answer for it and I think as long as there’s an answer for it you can deal with it.
“We are now on an improving picture over the next few months regarding Covid-19 and the plan of stepping out of it and towards sport and hospitality starting again, and sport and hospitality are our main business here.”
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