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Spurs post £63.9m loss as Levy issues stark warning

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has forecast that the Premier League club is facing more than £150m (€169m/$201m) in potential lost revenue if its stadium remains closed to fans.

Tottenham yesterday (Monday) reported annual losses of £63.9m and Levy has admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic “could not have come at a worse time” for the club, which moved into its new 62,000-seat stadium last year.

Tottenham’s revenue for the year ended June 30, 2020 was £402.4m, compared to £460.7m the previous year, with the club citing lower Champions League receipts and the extension of the 2019-20 season as reasons for the drop-off.

Operating expenses before football trading also increased from £312.8m to £358.1m, driven by a full year of depreciation of the stadium of £71m, compared to £24.9m in 2019.

Profit from operations, excluding football trading and before depreciation and exceptional items, dropped from £172.7m to £115.3m. The £63.9m loss after all charges including amortisation of player contracts, the rebate to broadcasters centrally agreed by the Premier League, interest and tax marked a significant drop-off on the previous year, when Tottenham posted a profit of £68.6m.

Premier League match-day and catering receipts did rise from £64.2m to £81.9m, with Tottenham able to play 14 of its 19 home matches prior to the COVID-19 outbreak with fans in the stadium. The club played the majority of the 2018-19 campaign at Wembley Stadium before moving to its new home for the final five matches of the season.

Gate receipts from the UEFA Champions League and domestic cup competitions dropped from £17.5m to £12.6m, while Premier League broadcasting and media revenues decreased from £149.9m to £95.2m after the revenue was deferred to the 2020-21 season as the games were played post-year end. Champions League prize money also dropped from £94m in 2019, when Tottenham reached the final, to £51.2m in 2020, when the club reached the last 16.

Tottenham’s net debt also climbed from £534.3m to £604.6m, with the club having refinanced its debt portfolio and extended it to an average maturity of 23 years, bringing the weighted average interest rate down to 2.67%.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has also missed out on hosting NFL American football games and concerts from the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Lady Gaga this year.

Levy said: “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.

“However, whilst we have been unable to open our stadium to fans, we have opened it to the NHS. Over 41,000 antenatal appointments have been held in our stadium by the North Middlesex Hospital Outpatients Department as we sought to assist with creating more space to treat patients in the hospital itself and provide a safer environment for outpatients. We opened our basement for COVID-19 testing and this still continues.”

Tottenham could welcome back a small number of fans soon after the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed yesterday that 4,000 spectators would be allowed in Tier 1 areas and 2,000 in Tier 2. The government is set to announce on Thursday which areas will fall into each tier of the new lockdown system, which will be introduced next week, and Levy feels that Tottenham is prepared to welcome back fans.

“We have spent the past months preparing our stadium, testing our digital ticketing process and registering ID validation for fans,” he said. “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. We are immensely grateful to our fans and sponsors for their ongoing support at this difficult time. We wish you all well over the festive period and hope we can see supporters return safely as soon as possible.”

Image: Bluejam/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size