Report outlines financial effect of pandemic on Celtic revenue; Lawwell shown up

By Euan Davidson

January 14, 2021

Celtic have suffered a 15.5% loss of revenue, according to a report by finance experts KPMG.

The company’s ‘The European Champions Report 2021’ makes for stark reading. The report monitored league champions from  Europe’s “big six”, as well the likes of Sevilla and Benfica.

Of course, we all knew Covid-19 would have a direct impact on the revenue of clubs around the world. Now, we’re much closer to knowing in real terms what it means for Celtic.

The report, by way of objective data, rubbishes Lawwell’s claims that Celtic have been affected “more than any” other side.

In his foreword, KPMG’s Global Head of Sports, Andrea Sartori, said:

“As the 5th edition of KPMG Football Benchmark’s “The European Champions Report” clearly demonstrates, the devastating short-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are clearly reflected by the key business performance indicators of the champions of Europe’s most prominent leagues in the 2019/20 season.”

The lack of fans at Celtic Park has had a major financial impact / (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic losses are obviously bad, but could be worse

With Celtic boasting an operating revenue of €80m, the losses constitute a 15.5% decrease from 2019 to 2020. In Net terms, it means the club have seen a 10% fall in profits compared to the season prior.

It’s not great, but not catastrophic either. For example, the Guardian analysed that there had been a 18.5% decline in revenue at Manchester United, 12.3% at Tottenham and 7.9% at Liverpool.

The reasons for this are clear; there are no fans to attend matches. A club can have all the sponsors in the world, but without weekly shares of ticket revenue, merchandising and refreshment money, it’ll take a significant hit.

That’s especially true of clubs with larger stadia, including Celtic Park. Without Celtic fans, revenue will fall.

There are other factors, sure. Celtic’s coffers could’ve used Champions League football, and the riches of Europe’s premier competition.

According to City AM, there’s a guaranteed €15m payment for entering the group stages. A win in the group is worth €2.7m, while a draw generates €0.9m for each club.

Equally, we’d assume that without the sale of Kieran Tierney (Sky Sports), the figures would be far bleaker. Player sales over recent years have kept the balance sheet healthy at Celtic.

However, contextualising our losses makes for easier reading, from a shareholder and board point of view. It could be worse; we could be Porto. Our 2003 UEFA Cup foes posted a 50% revenue shortfall.