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  • Football Finance Directors Report 2022

    How football clubs and investors are responding to developments in football finances.

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Report:

The Annual Survey of Football Finance Directors 2022

09 August 2022

“For football finance, as for the sport itself, it is not the setback that defines a club, it is the response.” Ian Clayden, Head of Professional Sports at BDO.

Our latest report reveals that football finances are undoubtedly in a better place following the disruption caused by COVID-19, but have all Clubs across the leagues rebounded in the same way, or are we seeing a further widening of the gap? And what does this mean for owners, and potential owners of clubs? In an age of increasing social and media pressure, where football clubs are brands (local, national or international) what are the responsibilities and opportunities available to football clubs? And following the emergence from COVID-19 and amid a changing landscape, what might the future look like?

This report is based on an annual survey of Finance Directors of clubs across the English leagues. We review the results to better understand the financial health of English football Clubs and insight into their operational and strategic challenges and opportunities.

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READ THE DATA PACK

In our latest annual review, our football sector specialists examine the following themes that are shaping the financial health of football clubs:

Click below to view key stats from each section

 

In our latest annual review, our football sector specialists have focussed on the following key areas of interest: These include:

Has financial health been restored? EPL Clubs responded that the financial position was either “very healthy” or “could be better but not bad”, while FLC Clubs perceive their position to have worsened, how can these clubs with constrained resources keep up? How have club shortfalls and operating losses been met? What are the biggest financial challenges and opportunities over the next 12 months?

What changes have been seen and where is the opportunity? With 70% of Clubs becoming more reliant on their shareholders to fund operating losses, 43% of shareholders are seeking full or partial exits, which is significantly higher than last year (22% in 2021). More investors are circling with 27% of Clubs receiving more investment approaches than the previous year, much of this interest being international.

The ESG agenda will have a genuine commercial impact on clubs both at an investor level (brand, fan attraction and compliance) and at a spectator level with 67% of sports fans (according to YouGov) being “socially conscious”. With only 4% of Clubs considering themselves very well informed on the interrelationship between climate change and football, it presents an opportunity for the larger clubs particularly to gain an impactful competitive advantage.

With Clubs increasingly having audiences that want to consume content in a different way, they need to expand their offering to meet this. Following England’s Euro 2022 success, there is optimism in the media that women’s football will explode, but is this view shared by Clubs where historically women’s football has been loss-making? 38% of Clubs reported that a diverse fanbase was essential, but what strategies are Clubs adopting to increase and diversify their fanbases?

The new football world may be characterised by the biggest clubs becoming global, brand-led, Super-clubs, while smaller clubs become increasingly localised, fan-centric and community focussed. And the first mover advantaged women’s teams (or clubs), could pave the way for fast-followers, driving significant engagement and media revenue growth.

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