Coronavirus restrictions saw Premier League clubs reporting a drop in income for the first time, according to new figures from financial firm Deloitte for the 2019-20 season.
The lack of spectators on match days coupled with a discount and a delay affecting some broadcast revenue caused revenue to drop by around 13%, although the top 20 clubs still grossed Â£ 4.5bn.
A cumulative pre-tax loss of almost Â£ 1bn was also the largest in Premier League history and nearly five times the figure of Â£ 200m from the previous season, when the real financial cost of the pandemic becomes clear.
Dan Jones of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group said: âThe drop in revenue during the 2019-20 season is, unsurprisingly, due to the global economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to grow. have a significant impact on the 2020 season. -21 financial results for the season when available.
“The absence of supporters, the postponement of matches and the discounts to broadcasters had a significant impact on the revenue that the clubs were able to generate.
“The full financial impact of the pandemic on the Premier League will depend on when supporters return to stadiums in significant numbers and the clubs’ ability to maintain and develop their business relationships, especially at a time when many other industries are Pain.
âMatch-day operations are the cornerstone of a club’s business model and the absence of supporters will be more fully reflected in the financial results for the 2020-21 financial year.
“Once the fans are able to return in their entirety, hopefully in the 2021/22 season, Premier League clubs have the potential to return to record income levels again.”
The renewal of the league’s broadcast deals will help, but in the meantime player salaries have jumped to occupy 72% of the club’s revenue in 2019-2020.
This was a consequence of declining incomes, with wages only increasing by 3% in gross terms.
Tim Bridge of Deloitte said: “In this extraordinary year, it’s unclear whether this marks a change in the clubs approach to salary spending, or one-off things like the lack of end-of-season bonuses. , which have been carried forward to the following year, or the impact of temporary salary reductions or deferrals.
“With salaries still representing the highest cost for football clubs, we will be looking with interest in the years to come to understand whether this financial shock will come to be seen as having caused a change in approach and better control of salary spending. . “