Exeter Chiefs record £2.26m loss owing to impact of Covid pandemic

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Exeter beat Bath
Exeter's last match in the accounting period was a 57-20 win over Bath on 7 March - they have only had a limited crowd of 2,000 attend one game since

Premiership and European champions Exeter have recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.26m after being "significantly impacted" by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The club's financial results for the year to June 2020 compared to a £24.75m profit in the previous year.

Turnover fell by £4.73m due mainly to the pandemic's effects, which saw the club not play any games after March.

The figures do not cover earnings from winning the Premiership or Champions Cup, which happened after 30 June.

Exeter's 2019 profit was helped by £14.1m from their share of CVC Capital Partner's £200m acquisition of a stake in Premiership Rugby in December 2018.

Chiefs had been the only profitable Premiership club prior to the CVC investment and are currently building a hotel and expanding Sandy Park, which is also used as a conferencing and events venue.

The pandemic meant Exeter missed out on hosting four home Premiership matches, a Premiership semi-final and two Champions Cup knockout matches with fans in attendance - all fixtures were played behind closed doors after August 2020.

"Obviously our financial results have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 but we are delighted with our performances on the field," chairman and chief executive Tony Rowe stated in the club's annual report.

"During the period to March 2020 when supporters were allowed our average attendance was only slightly less than the record set in 2018-19 and there is no doubt it would have been exceeded if the season had continued as normal, as would our other key performance indicators particularly relevant to match-days."

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said that while the losses were concerning, the club was able to deal with them as they hope to return to normal operations soon.

"To have lost that money is obviously worrying, there's not point saying any different. To be losing any money in a business is a worry, to lose that amount of money is significant," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"Having said that, in the current climate it's probably pretty good, we've had zero crowds, zero bar takings, reduced funding in other areas so there's an answer for it and I think as long as there's an answer for it you can deal with it.

"We are now on an improving picture over the next few months regarding Covid-19 and the plan of stepping out of it and towards sport and hospitality starting again, and sport and hospitality are our main business here."

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