This morning, Tottenham Hotspur released its financial statement for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. As you can imagine, the numbers were grim. Driven by a combination of clubs refunding a total of £330m in total revenue to television broadcasters, reduced European prize money after missing the Champions League and, of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has kept fans out of football stadiums since March, Tottenham reported a loss of £63.9m this past fiscal year. That’s in comparison to a gain of £68.6m the year prior.
In a statement on Spurs’ website, chairman Daniel Levy said that the financial hardship of the pandemic has hit Tottenham especially hard, considering they had just mortgaged their financial future with a brand new stadium financed mostly by public debt and reliant on fans regularly attending events. Levy warned that if things continue as they are now, the club is heading to an “irrecoverable” £150m loss in the coming fiscal year.
“We are currently in the midst of one of the most challenging times ever experienced. The impact of the pandemic on our revenue is material and could not have come at a worse time, having just completed a £1.2bn stadium build which is financed by Club resources and long-term debt. The 2020/21 season has so far seen no fans at games and this is compounded by a loss of third party events such as NFL, concerts, the closure of stores and visitor attractions. Our estimate for the current financial year of the potential loss of revenue, should the stadium remain closed to fans, is in excess of £150m. Clearly this would be an irrecoverable loss of income.
Levy spent a portion of his statement making the case for the return of fans to football stadiums when allowed by the government. Spurs have been advocates for the safe return of football fans, and Levy has spent the past few months not only making the case for fans in stadiums but also that Tottenham’s new stadium is one of the best options to have supporters back watching live football in England.
“Each and every Premier League club makes a significant financial and social contribution to the UK economy and to their local communities as well as being a great British export often showcased by Government departments for trade and culture visits. We have spent the past months preparing our stadium, testing our digital ticketing process and registering ID validation for fans. Premier League clubs are entirely capable, similar to the experience in several other countries, of responsibly delivering outdoor events with social distancing, exemplary hygiene standards, qualified stewards, testing capabilities and diverse travel plans, operating in some of the most technologically advanced venues in the world. We recognise that health and safety are paramount and we have been encouraged by the latest news on vaccine developments and potential Clinical Passports.”
It’s not completely bad news. The (small) silver lining is that Spurs showed an uptick in matchday, commercial, and catering revenue from the prior fiscal year, due to the opening of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and should the pandemic start to wane this bodes well for Spurs’ ability to bounce back with time.
Tottenham is hardly alone in struggling financially thanks to the pandemic, and it should be expected that most, if not all, Premier League clubs will be reporting similarly grim numbers in their financials for this past year. Levy’s statement also noted the club’s volunteerism of the stadium and infrastructure to aid the National Health System this past spring during the first wave of the virus.