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Financial results for AFL clubs for 2018, Part I

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Roar Guru
29th November, 2018
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The financial reports for AFL clubs for last season are starting to come in, and early indications are that quite a few clubs are reporting good profits, including clubs which failed to make the final eight.

As far back as August, the Herald-Sun reported that Essendon was on the verge of wiping out its debt after “another exceptional financial result.”

This debt had been accumulated over the years of the supplements scandal after amassing considerable legal expenses. Essendon ended up reporting a net profit of $3.4 million from total revenue of $65 million.

In the same month, The Australian reported on what it termed the ‘$10m footy clubs’, referring to Richmond and West Coast being ready to report combined profits in excess of $10 million on the back of records crowds and memberships, with the code more generally described as being in “rude financial health”.

Richmond’s financial report disclosed a profit of $4.2 million from total revenue of $80 million. Impressive as that is, it was bested by Hawthorn, which has reported a profit of $5 million from total revenue of $74 million.

While St Kilda reported a profit of $10.1 million, this needs to be adjusted for non-operating revenues of $13.1 million which relate to the Moorabbin redevelopment. Looking specifically at operating revenues and expenses, we get an operating loss of some $2.7 million.

Last month, Western Bulldogs President, Peter Gordon, canvassed the possibility of the Bulldogs earning a record profit off the back of $55 million in revenue.

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The club’s financial report as at October 2018 has just been released, and while Gordon was a little bit off with his revenue estimate, the Bulldogs are disclosing a fourth consecutive profit, which is commendable for a club finishing 13th.

The Bulldogs’ revenue remained relatively stable at $51.6 million, but a tighter handle on costs has allowed it to increase its profit for the year to $2.2 million.

Intriguingly, the Bulldogs have reported a profit after ‘Redevelopment Activities’ of $18.1 million. This has come about by the granting of a parcel of land adjacent to the Whitten Oval by the State Government, valued at $16 million.

Interesting to compare to the biggest club in the land, runners-up in 2018, the Pies have announced a small profit of $0.1 million from total revenue of $82 million. It is an improvement on the loss of $2.7 million reported in 2017.

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Melbourne has recorded a fifth consecutive profit, with an operating profit of $0.5 million from revenue of $49 million. Its statutory profit is closer to $7 million after the sale of the Leighoak gaming venue in July.

Geelong has reported an operating profit of $4 million from revenue of $68 million. This figure is inflated by the recognition of leasehold improvements transferred from the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust to the club valued at $5 million.

The only other publicly available information we have is a Herald-Sun report last month that the Gold Coast Suns were set to report an operating profit of $2 million.

Apparently this has come about from the Suns being forced to sell their home games due to the unavailability of Metricon Stadium for the first half of the season because of the Commonwealth Games.

While that sounds impressive for what remains a struggling club, we probably should retain some scepticism until we know the full value of the AFL annual dividend which I expect to be well above the average dividend.

I will complete the second part when the remainder of the financial reports are in.

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