Defending Premiership and European champions Exeter Chiefs have posted a significant £2.26m pre-tax loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The club’s annual turnover fell by £4.73m for the year to June 2020, largely due to effects of Covid-19. The Chiefs were unable to play any games for five months between March and August, and were unable to admit fans, which accounts for a large chunk of the Chiefs’ revenue.
As a result of the pandemic, the Chiefs missed out on revenue from four Premiership home games, a Premiership semi-final and two Champions Cup knockout matches, all of which were played behind closed doors after the August restart.
Down from £24.75m profit
However, the £2.26m figure does not include earnings from winning the Premiership or Champions Cup, both of which happened after June, but regardless the Chiefs will still be down from the £24.75m profit they made in 2019.
Exeter’s figures were boosted by £14.1m from their share of the Premiership’s CVC Capital Partner’s £200m acquisition of a stake in Premiership Rugby in December 2018.
Prior to the investment, the Chiefs were the only Premiership club to make a profit and are currently working on plans to expand Sandy Park and build a hotel, which is also used as a conferencing and events venue.
The club’s chairman Tony Rowe spoke of the difficulties they have had with Covid, but couldn’t hide his pride over the results on the field.
“Obviously our financial results have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 but we are delighted with our performances on the field,” Rowe stated in the club’s annual report.
“During the period to March 2020 when supporters were allowed our average attendance was only slightly less than the record set in 2018-19 and there is no doubt it would have been exceeded if the season had continued as normal, as would our other key performance indicators particularly relevant to match-days.”