Rugby Trade Directory

Exeter Chiefs make loss of over £4.5m

Exeter Rugby Group, which runs Exeter Chiefs, made a pre-tax loss of more than £4.5m in the year to June 30 2023.

The group, which also oversees the events business based at the Premiership club's Sandy Park home, saw pre-tax losses rise by £1.7m from 2022.

The year saw Exeter have a full season without Covid-19 restrictions, but the club say they were hit by the rise in the cost of living and lower crowds.

Exeter sold a stake in a hotel to help pay off Covid-related loans.

Accounts show the group's bank borrowings dropped by almost £20.9m in the period, to just under £2.6m.

During the season - which saw Worcester, Wasps and London Irish all go bust - Exeter's men's side finished seventh in the Premiership and reached the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup.

Exeter's women's side were beaten in the Premier 15's final, but did retain the Allianz Cup.

Turnover rose by just under £5m to almost £25.7m - mainly driven by a rise in the money generated by the hotel and Sandy Park events, rather than rugby-based income - but the profit on those sales fell due to higher costs.

The group's wage bill increased by £1.76m to £14.1m - the men's rugby side of the business saw a number of high-profile senior stars such British and Irish Lions players Stuart Hogg, Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds leave the club at the end of the season for which the accounts cover.

Exeter had been one of the most profitable Premiership clubs before the pandemic, due in part to their conferencing and events business alongside their rugby activities.

"The directors acknowledge the financial challenges of Exeter Rugby Group PLC with a view to re-establishing a sustainable financial model that the group was successful in achieving each year prior to the coronavirus pandemic," chief executive Tony Rowe wrote in a statement.

"The impact of the coronavirus pandemic caused unprecedented restrictions on the ability to trade and, as a reality, significantly impacted the group's finances.

"In addition to this, the impact of the current economic climate with high inflation, utility costs and interest rates has had an impact on both the operational running costs of the group and also income generation, as the result of the economic climate has seen a reduction in gate attendance for rugby games."

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