Blues 2022/23 Accounts

3 Apr 2024 | 0 comments

Football Finances

Blues accounts for last season were released on April 3rd. The key headlines are that the club made a significant loss again but the accounts also show how the debt has been reorganised following the takeover and how Knighthead are now financing the club with funding of around £50m.

It is also worth re-emphasising that 2022/23 was the final season where Blues had a number of expensive player contracts and these start unwinding for this season and the next as these contracts expire.

Blues set up in UK is that they have a holding company (Birmingham City Limited) and then the Football Club (Birmingham City Football Club Limited).  Both these companies release their accounts at the same time and the Profit and Loss numbers are very similar. The figures in the article are for the Football Club unless otherwise stated and comparisons are provided for the last 5 years to provide some context.

Let’s start with revenue.

Revenue – reduced ticket prices reduce match day revenue but commercial income is up

Revenue (£m) 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Match Day 3.7 4.2 0.0 4.6 5.0
Broadcasting 9.1 8.4 9.3 8.8 8.0
Commercial 6.2 5.0 3.8 9.1 10.0
Turnover 19.0 17.6 13.1 22.5 23.0
Other income 0.8 4.0 1.8 1.5 0.7

Match Day revenue was 12% down on the 2021/22 season – one cause of this was reduced ticket prices that the club introduced for the season. The revenue was also affected by the ongoing partial ground closure during the season, hence revenue is still well down on 2019.

Commercial income increased 24% and is starting to recover post Covid.

Looking ahead one would expect Match Day income to improve this season following prices being increased and capacity being restored and commercial income to continue its recovery under Knighthead.

Operating Costs – Blues total wage bill is decreasing – but only slowly

Operating costs £m 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Employment costs (27.6) (31.1) (30.9) (32.4) (33.0)
Other Expenses (14.0) (9.7) (6.6) (10.9) (11.1)
Depreciation (1.2) (1.4) (1.2) (1.3) (0.9)
Player Amortisation (3.5) (6.3) (7.2) (8.3) (8.0)
Total Op cost (46.3) (48.5) (46.0) (53.0) (52.9)
Wages/turnover (%) 145% 177% 236% 144% 143%

Blues total wage bill last season was £27.6m – 11% down on the previous season, but with a wages to turnover ratio still very high at 145%. The expiration of a number of contracts at the end of last season should bring this down further for this season.

Player amortisation, which spreads transfer fees paid over the length of a players’ contracts, was down highlighting that Blues were becoming less of a spending club last season.

Other overheads were up so the total operating cost only came down 4.5%.

Operating Profit – Blues still made a significant loss on operations

Putting these together gave an operating loss of £26.5m – marginally better on recent previous seasons, but still high. Again, the reduction in player costs this season and an increase in revenues should help this number improve going forward.

  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Operating Profit/loss (£m) (26.5) (26.9) (31.0) (29.0) (29.2)

Player Transfers – Modest player sales profits

Blues spent modestly in the transfer market with purchases of £3m and sales of £2.4m. Overall profit on player sales was a modest £2.1m – the large benefit of Jude’s sale to Real Madrid won’t come through until this season’s accounts.

  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Profit on player sales (£m) 2.1 3.1 26.5 11.5 4.4

Profit and loss – Blues made another significant loss last season

Putting the revenue and costs together gives the following total profit and loss

P&L (£m) 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Profit before tax (25.4) (24.8) (5.5) (18.4) (8.1)

Blues recorded on overall loss of £25.4m – very similar to last year. This number should start turning around this season due a number of factors, as mentioned above. However, the figures above emphasise how tight the Profit and Sustainability challenge is likely to be for the Club this season.

Keeping the club going in future

The accounts estimate that £58m will be needed to keep the club going from July 2023 to February 2025 and that Knighthead are prepared to continue funding the club.

Summary

The accounts are not pretty and much work will continue to be needed to get the club on an even keel.  However, Knighthead are clearly up for this task and there are some signs of the numbers starting to turn with Commercial revenue starting to recover, Match Day income likely to increase this season and player wages likely to continue to decline. Nevertheless, increased revenue and some control on costs would seem to be paramount for the club to stabilise and prosper.

Blues Trust

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