Football clubs bring joy and pain to millions of people around the world. In their most basic form, however, they are a company just like any other. With many employees on different wages, day to day running costs and rent, there is not much difference in a financial statement. In January, Arsenal FC released their financial statements and there are some interesting things to note when looking through them. So here is our analysis of Arsenal’s finances
The end of an era for Wenger
After 22 seasons, 476 wins and 3 titles including one unbeaten season, Arsene Wenger announced he would step down as Arsenal manager. To fill this hole, in stepped Unai Emery, formerly of PSG. According to the financial statements, this change over in personnel cost the club £17.2 million. It is not stated where exactly this money went. The money could have been to conclude the contracts of some of Wenger’s staff. It could be to secure Emery’s services, either as a bonus payment or to buy out his contract at PSG
Arsenal Finances – Europa League
The income for year 2017-2018 dropped from £408.1 million to £388.6 million. This is mainly due to the change in Broadcasting rights. A relatively unsuccessful year saw the Gunners finish 6th, and therefore had to play in the Europa League. This happened again in 2017/18 season and so the club can expect the income to be similar in terms of broadcasting rights. In the 2017 report, broadcasting income was reported as £198.6 million, whereas in in 2018 it had dropped to £180 million. Looking deeper, £56.3 million was gained from Champions League rights, where only £34.4 million was made in 2018 from Europa League
Arsenal Finances – Player changes
In 2017, Arsenal Football club made just £6.8 million from the sale of players. This is an extremely low figure when comparing to clubs around the world, and unfortunately not a sustainable way to run a club. This changed in 2018. In the 2 transfer windows, the club managed to rake in £120 million from the sale of players including Walcott, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. This is potentially what allowed the club to make the high profile purchases of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in 2018 and Lucas Torreira after the World Cup.
Arsenal Finances- Arsenal Broadband
An interesting thing to note is the inclusion of a company named Arsenal Broadband Limited. On further inspection this appears to be a company based in Highbury. The company is the provider of the official Arsenal FC internet portal and Arsenal’s on demand online video service. Its Key Performance indicators are its presence in terms of the likes and follows the club has on social media. It also focuses on the official site, stating that the site had over 23 million unique followers. It is a joint venture between Arsenal Football club and Kroenke Sports Enterprises UK Inc. Shares in the company total £20,000,001 and the company turns a profit for the club.
Finishing 6th was quite a big disappointment for Arsenal FC. Both on and off the pitch the frustration was felt and unfortunately this translated to the finances. With TV rights being such a huge chunk of a club’s income, to drop a level can hurt. Luckily for Arsenal they are a successful and well-followed club. Some shrewd outgoing transfers seems to have offset the lower income, and smart signings of players and managing staff seem to have set the club back on the right track. Pushing for a top 4 place, the club want to get back to the glory days of Champions League and Title challenges!