Premier League clubs report first revenue drop

A limited number of fans were allowed into Premier League stadiums for the final two rounds of matches at the end of a 2020-21 season which saw Manchester City crowned champions
A limited number of fans were allowed into Premier League stadiums for the final two rounds of matches at the end of a 2020-21 season which saw Manchester City crowned champions

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in Premier League clubs reporting a fall in revenue for the first time, according to finance company Deloitte.

The figures relate to the 2019-20 season, when the top-flight campaign was halted in March 2020 before resuming without fans in June.

Revenue dropped by about 13%, although the 20 Premier League clubs still brought in a combined £4.5bn.

There was also a cumulative pre-tax loss of nearly £1bn.

That is the largest in Premier League history and almost five times the previous season's £200m figure.

"The decrease in revenue in the 2019-20 season is, unsurprisingly, down to the global economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to have a heavy impact on the 2020-21 season's financial results when available," said Dan Jones of Deloitte's sports business group.

"The absence of fans, postponement of matches and rebates to broadcasters had a significant impact on the revenue clubs have been able to generate.

"The full financial impact of the pandemic on the Premier League will depend on the timing of the return of fans to stadia in significant numbers and the ability of clubs to maintain and develop their commercial relationships, in particular at a time when many other industries are suffering."

Fans returned to Premier League grounds for the final two rounds of fixtures at the end of the 2020-21 campaign when up to 10,000 were allowed to attend.

"Matchday operations are a cornerstone of a club's business model and fans' absence will be more fully reflected in the financial results of the 2020-21 financial year," added Jones.

"Once fans are able to return in full, hopefully during the 2021-22 season, Premier League clubs have the potential to again return to record revenue levels."

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