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Tottenham reveal £80m operating loss after COVID year

This is both expected and likely not much to worry about.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

‘Tis the season for annual financial reports, and with precious few exceptions much of them are going to be absolutely dire. Tottenham Hotspur is no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced clubs to play matches behind closed doors without fans in attendance absolutely demolished club finances last season; Tottenham has announced via a post on their website that the club suffered a pre-tax loss of just above £80m for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Tottenham’s total debt, largely impacted by the new stadium, also ballooned up to £706m.

Tottenham obviously lost a significant amount of match day income, making only £1.9m from match day revenue in the last fiscal year, compared to more than £94m in 2020, and also took European competition prize money after falling to the Europa League from the Champions League (£21.6m vs. £51.2m)

That sounds grim, and it is! There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Tottenham took one on the chin, financially speaking. However, the context is super important here — while a loss of £80m isn’t great, it does illustrate how poor the timing of the pandemic was for Spurs, and how much they planned to rely on not only match day income but also non-football events held in the new stadium, most of which were cancelled during the pandemic year. And with that context, Spurs actually came out of last year in a fairly strong financial position, as they were able to take advantage of favorable loan conditions to refinance their debt into a series of long-term bonds.

Here’s chairman Daniel Levy in a statement posted along with the financial numbers.

The financial results published for our year ended 30 June, 2021, reflect the challenging period of the pandemic and the incredibly damaging timing of COVID-19 coinciding, as it did, with the opening of our stadium in April, 2019. With no less than three lockdowns our operations were severely disrupted, albeit this was secondary to the impact everyone felt in their personal and family lives.

Many of our staff continued to work through all the lockdowns to keep the stadium open for local food distribution, NHS vaccination and ante-natal clinics, along with certain key club operations. We are extremely grateful to them.


All of this, together, kept us going and as a result we have emerged from the pandemic financially stable. Global uncertainties remain and the Club is not alone in facing significant cost pressures resulting from the impact of the pandemic on supply chain constraints and consequences of Brexit.

Resilience is, however, a hallmark of everyone at the Club.

In short, the numbers are bad, but nearly EVERYONE’S numbers are bad. Some shrewd investment and the return of fans to stadiums has meant that Spurs are likely going to emerge from the pandemic better — or at least less severely injured — than many other clubs.

Levy went on to comment on the club’s vision for the future, which revolved mostly around capitalizing on the new stadium and non-footballing activities to generate income, all of which will be reinvested into the club.

Going forward, therefore, our strategy is clear - to drive and generate revenues to invest in all of our football activities.

Football success, in turn, supports the growth of our Club, our fanbase and consequently wider, commercial opportunities and partnerships, which then deliver further revenue to reinvest in football - the virtuous, sustainable circle on which our Club model is based.

We shall develop new and diverse revenue streams to increase recurring revenues. Third party events such as conferencing, NFL, concerts, boxing and rugby are all examples of this. Our stadium is a key component to our revenue growth yet, unbelievably, we have still not seen and enjoyed a full season in our new stadium with attendances.

We shall continue to invest in our senior management and our staff to deliver this and look to decrease our reliance on football revenues alone, such that we protect our Club’s long-term sustainability.

This also involves continuing the development of the area around the new stadium, including a hotel near the stadium for visiting fans who are coming to the area for Spurs matches and other events.

Levy also briefly mentioned the operations side of the club and looked back at not only the short tenure of Nuno Espirito Santo but the investment in players, noting that the club has spent more than £400m on player transfers since the new stadium opened. He also notably recognized Tottenham Hotspur Women, who are vastly improved after the appointment of Rehanne Skinner last season and are currently having their best ever season in the WSL.

I should like to take this opportunity to formally congratulate our Women’s First Team Head Coach, Rehanne Skinner, on a successful first year at the Club. Under the tutelage of Rehanne and her coaching staff, the team has had a positive start to what is only their third FA Women’s Super League (WSL) season.

The Women’s First Team has seen a rapid rise from being semi-professional less than five years ago to finishing second in the FA Women’s Championship and earning promotion to the WSL in 2019.

The north London derby against Arsenal, held at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November, 2019, set a new all-time attendance record for the WSL of 38,262 which remains in place.

We are currently undertaking the construction of exclusive facilities for the Women’s First Team at the training centre, alongside a dedicated match quality training pitch, where the Women’s First Team now train full-time.