Revealed: The extent of cash crunch Premiership clubs are facing
SPOTLIGHT: Even the most stable clubs in the Premiership are beginning to feel the cash crunch and running into the red.
Exeter Chiefs boss Tony Rowe has issued a warning to the Premiership, suggesting teams will go bust unless some semblance of normality returns to rugby.
The current impact on professional rugby clubs due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely reported, but Chiefs Executive Rowe paints a grim picture of the finances, saying the Chiefs alone have lost £1 million per month over the course of April, May and June alone.
In an address on the club website the Exeter Chiefs chairman stated: “I don’t think the rugby fraternity realise how much clubs are losing and it’s currently costing us just over a £1m a month to keep operating,” he said.
“We still have to maintain all the infrastructure, as well as the playing side, so it’s been incredibly difficult.
“Sandy Park, as a business, has already had to cancel over £1m in corporate business from banquets, conferences and dinners and right now I can’t see when they will come back, so it’s eating into our reserves pretty quickly.
“Everybody has held up Exeter as the ideal business and a profitable club because we have Sandy Park Conference and Banqueting that pays the day-to-day bills and then we have all these bums on seats for match-days.
“However, for the last five months, that’s been a millstone around our necks. At the moment, we can’t earn any revenue, yet our outgoings remain the same!
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“What was to a degree our ‘golden goose’ in having Sandy Park pay the bills and the overheads, whilst the match-days were the big earners, both of those income streams have currently gone.”
“Central funding is made up of TV, league sponsors and RFU money, which covers some of it,” he explained. “However, the bigger money comes from bums on seats and if we can’t get spectators into the stadium, we’re all going to be in trouble.
“Most of the clubs will have worked out how long they can survive, but if we can’t get some decent revenue coming in by the New Year, we’ve got serious problems.
“Here at Exeter, because we have been commercially sound for the last 20-odd years, we’re fortunate we’ve been able to lean back on some of our assets to help raise the funds we need to keep going, but I do fear for some of the other clubs.”