BLOG – A Peek at Wrexham’s Finances

It was reported in the Daily Post yesterday that Wrexham FC will lose a total of £200,000 this season. Whilst on the surface this seems like bad news for Wrexham FC fans it actually is good news as they were forecast to lose £700,000 this season but thanks to their run in the FA cup, some high attendances and player sales they’ve made much more than they thought. The WST also has a fairly healthy £450,000 in the bank which, if they invest this sum into the football club, would mean that this season Wrexham have made a profit of £250,000. This has led to the board declaring that the player’s budget will remain the same as it was from last season whilst they also try to reduce off the field costs.

Whilst this is very impressive one must remember that if the FA Cup run had not happened they would, at best, have lost £350,000 this season. This would’ve almost certainly meant a cut in the playing budget and mid-table consolidation in the league. As it stands the club look to be in play-off contention again (I think this year could be Luton’s for the title) with, currently, most of last year’s squad who finished on 98 points and still didn’t go up, intact.

It does remain to be seen where the £200,000 shortfall will be made up however. They have already cut back backroom costs “where possible”.

If the majority of the shortfall can’t be clawed back through cuts then the board must be pinning their hopes on an increase in ticket sales from last season. So far this seems to have gone OK. Season ticket sales are up from the same time last season by 100 (to 1800) but this covers the fact that the average season ticket price has actually gone down from £176 (early bird discount in 2011-12) to £112.50 (early bird and WST member discount[1] 2012-13). This means that despite a small increase in sales the club has less season ticket money than last season from £299,200 in 2011-12 to £202,500 for the forthcoming season; a reduction of £96,700[2].

The early bird discount has ended but if last year’s sales after the early bird offer are anything to go by this won’t make up the shortfall as only 150 extra season tickets were added and some of these were half season tickets. If the same number was added this year at an average of £154.17 this would only add £23,125.

One must also take into account the WST membership as well. Currently there are 2149 members and with a membership of £12/year that brings in another £25,788. Add this onto another estimated 150 ST’s sold and it makes £48,913. But this still means that the club would have lost around £47,787. When the club is running at a £200,000 loss can they afford to reduce their own revenue streams by nearly a quarter of this?

Now it must be stressed that these figures are not 100% accurate as I have used a number of assumptions detailed in the footnotes but it must be fairly close. To make up this shortfall of £70,912 (current season ticket sales + WST membership) the club has got to sell roughly another 459 season tickets, to a total of 2259. Not insurmountable but certainly a huge leap from their impressive total last season.

Are the club gambling on increased sponsorship? Or perhaps they are hoping for another cup run (although this is not in their predicted budgets).

What I think this does illustrate is the need for us to pay full price for our season tickets. It has been suggested on numerous occasions that the club should offer a discount to CFU members but this could mean that we are throwing away 30-40k before we even begin a season. With the war-chest being steadily increased to tackle some of the infrastructure issues at the club so that we can make more income for more of the year, that would be a massive step backwards.

[1] There is a £25 discount for being a WST member and a £25 discount for buying the tickets early. For the purposes of this piece I have assumed that all the early bird ticket holders are also WST members although this may not be the case.

[2] I worked this out using a few assumptions. I found the average season ticket prices for both last season and this season and then multiplied them by the season ticket sales for both seasons, at the end of the early bird stage, to the nearest 100. Obviously these figures won’t be 100% accurate due to the variation between sales of juniors, adults and seniors but it serves to illustrate that there is some revenue lost.

4 responses to “BLOG – A Peek at Wrexham’s Finances”

  1. Interesting. But as I understand it Wrexham season ticket prices have gone up this season and 1500 only had to be sold to match the revenue from last seasons ticket sales. The community share issueis looking to raise 200k of which 100k has already been achieved.

    • Cheers for the comment.

      With regard to our calculations, as is pointed out in the second footnote, Neil averaged out prices in his calculations. After all, we don’t have access to Wrexham’s accounts and so are unsure of 1) the breakdown of adult/child etc season ticket holders (so the average price Neil worked out might be too low considering that there are likely to be more adults than children) and 2) What match day revenue was last season.

      The main point of the article was to point out that the early bird discounts and WST discounts mean that Wrexham lose out on a sizeable chunk of revenue. I think that point still stands. Of course, Wrexham are actually in a pretty healthy financial position as the WST could easily cover a £200k loss (as was pointed out), and we didn’t even know about the Community Share Issue!

      In other words, Wrexham appear to be in a better position to offer the sizeable discount. Mostly because of the FA Cup run and player sales you had last year. That hasn’t been available to Chester and the CFU until this season, hence why Neil defends their policy of no early bird rates and CFU discounts.

  2. I’m a little dubious about your maths, I confess. Assuming you’ve just averaged the ticket prices, I don’t think that’s a valid thing to do.,,10311~160370,00.pdf

    Assuming the UK age profile is reflected in our support we’d expect the age profile to look like the following:
    80 = 5%

    Taking ERS prices, for example, the average price on this age profile would have been £132.40 last year and £140.25 this season (inclusive of early-bird and trust discounts). So on average our ST sales are up – an adult price hike more than covering for junior and OAP discounts. I imagine the other stands tell a similar story.

    I think our season tickets are still a little on the low side – we’re among the cheapest in the league – but it was certainly the board’s intention to raise prices on average this year – most people viewed last year’s prices as a fire sale by Moss.

  3. Fair comment. I did point out in the footnotes that due to just averaging the ST prices the figures wouldn’t be that accurate.
    The general thrust of the piece when I wrote it was WFC finances look alright but they probably shouldn’t be giving such big discounts in the junior and OAP sections cause they could do with the extra money. Reading it back it doesn’t quite come across as that but it’s close enough.

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