Leicester have announced a pre-tax loss of £67.3m for the year ending May 2020 as the Foxes begin to count the cost of the pandemic.
The losses are up from £20.2m from the previous year and are partly explained by significant investment in a new training ground, land around the King Power Stadium, and player signings, but the club said that lockdown led to considerable costs in the final three months of the accounting period.
“Principal costs such as the majority of the club’s contribution to the Premier League’s broadcaster rebate, were borne in the accounts before the year-end, while the extension of the season’s conclusion has meant almost a quarter of Premier League revenues, prize money and sponsorship revenue will be not recognised as income until the 2020/21 financial year,” a statement said.
The impact of that was a drop in turnover to £150m from £178.4m for the previous 12 months.
The club did not furlough staff during lockdown and continued to pay casual matchday and non-matchday staff until the end of the financial year despite the suspension of play, with many deployed within the community at a time when Leicester was one of the worst-hit areas in the country.
Chief executive Susan Whelan said: “While the early impact of Covid-19 on commercial revenues is clear, 2019/20 was still a season of considerable progress.
“On the pitch, we secured a return to European football with our second-highest ever Premier League finish and, off it, we were able to support our people through times of hardship, further strengthening the bond between the club and its communities.”
Covid’s impact on Premier League
For Sky Sports’ in-depth ‘Counting the cost: Covid’s impact on football finances’ story, Tim Bridge, a director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said Premier League clubs were always likely to feel a big impact from Covid-19.
“The Premier League is the highest revenue-generating league and it won’t be a surprise to anybody that it has felt the biggest impact,” said Bridge.
“It’s taken us a while to get there because there are elements that have been deferred, there are elements that have been lost, and nobody knew when fans were going to come back, so we didn’t know when the cut-off point was.
“But if you assume that fans are back in stadiums from the start of the 2021/22 season, then the impact on the Premier League will be in the region of 1.6bn euros of lost revenue.”