United and Wednesday hit hardest across top two tiers
Football clubs in the Premier League and Championship are facing a combined hole of more than £1 billion if crowds do not return before the end of the season.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that plans for the possible return of fans from Oct 1 had been shelved as part of new measures to stem the rising spread of Covid-19.
Numerous clubs from League One down through to non-League and below are not financially viable without fans but, even allowing for their broadcast income, the financial impact on clubs in the top two tiers is still also considerable.
Although Manchester United face the biggest projected lost income, of £139.39 million, Arsenal are proportionately most affected. They derive significantly less income than United from commercial revenue streams, but would still have expected to make £122.27 million from fans on match days. According to Arsenal’s most recent accounts for 2018-19, match-day income amounted to almost a quarter of all revenue.
Arsenal’s projected loss is around £40million more than Chelsea and almost £50million more than Manchester City. The overall projected loss across the Premier League is put at £911.66million.
In the Championship, Sheffield Wednesday, whose ground has a capacity of almost 40,000, are projected to be hardest hit and can expect lost income of almost £23million. The Championship clubs will be around £180 million short in match-day income in total.
The English Football League has estimated its bail-out needs across its three divisions at £200million for a season without fans.
The projections have been made by financial analysts Vysyble, who calculated expected revenues in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons according to 2018-19 balance sheets. They then factored in the games played by each club prior to lockdown during the 2019-20 season and average attendances.