The Sydney Swans have felt the full financial brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, with the club recording a net loss of more than $6 million and requiring a $1.5 million loan from the AFL.
The Swans attributed more than half of their $6,100,236 loss for the year ending October 31 to the absence of home matches at the SCG and a lack of crowds.
This year’s financial strain saw the Swans reduce their operating expenses by 38 per cent, including off-field staff cuts.
Sydney also suffered a massive drop-off in members from 61,912 to 48,322 – though 98 per cent of members who signed on before March retained at least part of their memberships.
“If it wasn’t for the commitment of our members, our financial position would have been much worse,” club chairman Andrew Pridham said in a statement.
“While we have recorded a sizeable loss, we have realised the full burden of the pandemic this year.
“The club will exit the season with a loan repayable to the AFL of $1.5 million, and while that’s significant, it ensures we can continue to offer important programs such as our QBE Sydney Swans boys and girls Academy, to provide opportunities and pathways for local talent.
“The reality of the Sydney market that we operate in is that despite taking prudent measures throughout the year, there are high costs that are necessary to ensure our team can continue to train and play.
“Everyone from our board to our executive team, wider staff and playing group have worked incredibly hard to keep the club going through some very difficult circumstances this season.”
After nearly going broke in the 1990s, Sydney have largely been one of the AFL’s financial powers in recent years.
Last year was the first time the Swans recorded a loss in nine years – though that figure of $509,625 was dwarfed by the 2020 loss.
Sydney have also missed the finals over the past two seasons.
There have been mixed financial results across the AFL clubs’ reported financial results.
Earlier this week, Collingwood announced a loss of $1.8 million – while in early December, North Melbourne announced a net surplus of $213,682.