What will be the impact of the fans’ return on club finances next season?
The 2020/2021 football season has been full of many characteristics of any regular campaign. There was suspense, shock and a lot of great goals across the pyramid, but one thing was sorely missed: the supporters. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, fans have not been allowed inside stadiums to cheer on their teams since March 2020.
Fortunately, by the start of 2021/2022, the cathedrals of football should be full again. The clubs will welcome this news with open arms, as the lack of supporters has hurt them financially. Research conducted by Casino winner suggests that the Burnley fans they interviewed spent the most on per-head match tickets in the division. The Clarets’ faithful were also the biggest expense in the club shop. It’s a vital income that Burnley must have found elsewhere until his loyal spectators are allowed into Turf Moor.
Not only were they unable to collect the receipts at the door, but they were also affected by the sales of merchandise, food and drink.
The impact of returning fans on club finances
Which clubs have been hit the hardest?
In the leagues, clubs have been badly affected by the lack of supporters. Daily income is an essential part of every team’s budget for the year. Without it, many of those at the bottom of the pyramid needed bank loans. Government grants have also been given to prevent clubs from going bankrupt.
Although Premier League clubs have higher income levels, they have not been incubated by the effects of stadiums without spectators. Unsurprisingly, the teams with the largest stadiums were the most affected.
Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, has a capacity of over 74,000 people. In the 2018/2019 season, this has seen the Red Devils raise over £ 100million to an average of £ 4.3million per game. Arsenal’s home, Emirates Stadium, is another large arena capable of accommodating 60,000 people. Without fans, however, the Gunners were left with a £ 96.2million hole to fill this season. Other hard hit clubs are Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester and West Ham United.
Also think of Tottenham Hotspur. Their new home only opened in 2019 and they only had a few months of action before the pandemic. Without fans to fill it up, construction costs weigh on Spurs.
Downstairs table clubs were also affected. Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion are estimated to have lost around £ 6million and £ 7million respectively.
Why we can’t wait for the fans to return
Of course, supporters banned from entering the stadiums did not only have financial impact. He also acted to suck in the joy and spectacle of football. As the famous saying goes: “Football without supporters is nothing.”
In August, Paris-Saint Germain midfielder Ander Herrera perfectly summed up what we have all been thinking about over the past 14 months. Talk to the media after his side’s Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich, he said: “This is crap, horrible.
“For me the fans are the key to this sport, they are the most important thing in football. Football without supporters is nothing. Hope everyone realizes that football is for the fans.
Having to either listen to an eerie silence or whistle through the noise of the crowd while watching home games has been torturous. When things finally get back to normal next season, we’re sure everyone will relish the return of football’s life force to support their teams.
The future of transfer fees
the shortage of lucrative transfers last summer seemed to suggest that the lack of fans had depressed the market.
Worldwide, the highest transfer fee paid this season has been for Kai Havertz. The former Bayer Leverkusen prodigy cost Chelsea around £ 70million. The second most expensive was paid by Napoli for Lille striker Victor Osimhen. It cost the Azzurri around £ 60million – although that may increase in the future.
These two deals barely make the top 20 most expensive deals of all time, apparently suggesting clubs are tightening their belts. However, could that change once fans are allowed inside stadiums again?
Over time we believe so, but don’t expect clubs to immediately return to their pre-Covid spending levels. First, most of the clubs typically responsible for the biggest deals in the world are in unprecedented debt.
Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid have all been spending a lot lately and the pandemic has hit them very hard. Therefore, while stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah are all said to be looking for movement, they will run out of suitors. Well, no suitors, there are a lot of them. More precisely, there will not be many teams able to pay their salary and their transfer fees.
However, there may be other means of funding these agreements. All over the world of football there are rumors that private equity firms may take more and more interest in sport. These additional cash reserves may be enough to bring transfer spending back to its pre-pandemic level. Bank loans are another option, although these come with high interest rates.