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Volume 7 No. 149

Finance

The LTA was assured its annual surplus will not be impacted by Wimbledon's recent spending.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

British tennis received an "early Christmas present with assurances from Wimbledon that its annual surplus will not be affected by recent expenditure on development," according to Mike Dickson of the London DAILY MAIL. The profit allocated to the Lawn Tennis Association "is, in fact, expected to hit" the £40M ($50.6M) mark for the first time following the '18 Championships. That is an increase on the £33.6M from the previous year, and "bucks the general trend" since the late '90s of it being trimmed, "once inflation is considered." This is "despite hefty nine-figure costs over recent years at SW19," which has seen a roof put on Court Number One and the indoor complex "about to be completely redeveloped." There has "also been concern at the burden of maintaining some of the tournaments on grass," promoted by the LTA, leading in to the "big fortnight." The standalone WTA Tour women's event at Birmingham "has become a particular headache, with losses said to run at well over" £500,000 ($632,000) annually (DAILY MAIL, 12/17).

CVC Capital Partners, the former owner of Formula 1, is "set to re-enter professional sport" with a £225M ($284.5M) deal to acquire a minority stake in the holding company behind Premiership Rugby, providing a "crucial capital injection to the cash-starved clubs of the game," according to Espinoza & Massoudi of the FINANCIAL TIMES. A deal for Premiership Rugby may be finalized with the private equity firm "as soon as this week," according to sources. The two sides were "racing" on Monday to get the final sign-off from three clubs, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and Worcester Warriors. An agreement would end months of negotiations between CVC and the holding company of the elite competition after an initial bid worth £275M ($348M) for a majority, 51% stake was rejected. Reluctant to relinquish control, the 13 clubs in the union are "planning to sell CVC a minority stake in the business, allowing each team to walk away with a windfall." The exact terms of the agreement "may include other details that adjust the economics and incentives of the deal over time" (FT, 12/17).

Everton "posted record revenues for the second successive year," according to SKY SPORTS. Its final figure of £189M represented an increase of 10% on last year. The club enjoyed a "successful season off the pitch," posting an increase of 16% on "gate receipts alone" and reaching a record of 31,282 season ticket members. Combined with gate receipts, sponsorship and "other commercial income" increased by 45% from '17. Despite that, Everton still posted an operating loss of £22.9M, a slight improvement on the £25M loss posted in '17 because of "increased investment in the squad" which saw signings including Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford and Theo Walcott. The club also reported a loss after tax of £13.1M compared to a profit after tax of £30.6M in '17 (SKY SPORTS, 12/18).

IN AUSTRALIA: In Sydney, Chris Dutton reported Super Rugby side ACT Brumbies will record back-to-back profits for the first time in a decade on Thursday, but they have "different sorts of numbers on their mind for growing the game" in '19. The Brumbies will bank more than A$50,000 ($35,900) "despite crowds dipping to a record low this year" as the Australian rugby public "continued to grow frustrated with the sport's administration." Interim club Chair Matt Nobbs said that the club needs to "make some noise" about getting fans back to Canberra Stadium to help boost its bottom line "even more." Rugby Australia will help fund a marketing campaign in '19 "in the hope of reconnecting with fans and increasing crowd figures" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/18).