Now that all the clubs in the Scottish Premiership have finally published their accounts for the 2019/20 season, here is an overview of their financials, which were adversely impacted by the season’s early closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic #spfl
Most Scottish Premiership clubs aim for break-even with 5 making small profits, led by Hearts £0.5m and Motherwell £0.3m. #RangersFC £17.5m post-tax loss is the big outlier, especially compared to #CelticFC £0.4m deficit, largely due to their recent investment in the squad.
However, it is worth noting that #CelticFC were boosted by £24m profit from player sales, largely due to Kieran Tierney’s move to Arsenal, which was significantly higher than other Scottish clubs. The next highest were Kilmarnock £1.2m, Motherwell £1.0m and #RangersFC £0.7m.
The Old Firm had by far the largest operating losses (i.e. excluding player sales and interest) with #CelticFC being highest at £24.5m then #RangersFC £15.9m. Next highest was Hibernian with just £1.4m. Hearts was the only club with an operating profit, thanks to £3.7m donations.
#CelticFC had the highest revenue with £70m, though the gap to #RangersFC £59m has narrowed. Both Glasgow clubs earn at least four times as much as other Scottish clubs with closest challengers being Aberdeen £14m, Hearts £12m, Hibernian £9m and Kilmarnock £5m.
Revenue for most Scottish clubs fell in 2019/20, partly due to the impact of COVID-19, but #RangersFC increased by £6m (11%), due to reaching Europa League last 16. In contrast, #CelticFC revenue dropped £13m (16%) with match day and commercial heavily affected by the pandemic.
#CelticFC £35.8m match day revenue was just ahead of #RangersFC £35.7m, then a big drop to Hearts £5.1m, Aberdeen £3.7m and Motherwell £1.5m. All clubs adversely impacted by season’s early closure, though Rangers boosted by Europa League run and 5% ticket price increase.
Similarly, #CelticFC £13.7m broadcasting income was just above #RangersFC £13.5m, with both of them a long way ahead of the other Scottish clubs: Aberdeen £3.0m, Motherwell £2.3m and Hearts £2.0m.
The Scottish Premiership TV deal is very low, so #CelticFC only received £3.4m for winning the title in 2020. To put this into perspective, Premier League winners got £152m, while last place was worth £97m. Even a Championship club (no parachute payments) got twice as much £7m.
There is a new 5-year Scottish TV deal with Sky Sports worth £30m (€34m) a year from 2020/21 (up from £25m), but this is not going to move the needle by much. It’s still much lower than Poland Ekstraklasa €58m and Belgium Jupiler League €83m, let alone Premier League €3.6 bln
The Glasgow clubs’ broadcasting revenue was boosted by the Europa League: #CelticFC £9.9m earned more than #RangersFC £9.2m, despite only reaching last 32 compared to last 16, due to higher UEFA coefficient (based on last 10 year’s results) and better results in the group.
Reaching the Champions League group stage can make a big difference to Scottish clubs, e.g. the last time #CelticFC managed this in 2018 they received £30m TV money. On top of that, a club would have higher gate receipts and an uplift from performance bonuses in commercial deals.
#CelticFC £20.8m commercial income (sponsorship £8.1m, retail and e-commerce £11.2m and other income £1.4m) was more than double #RangersFC £9.8m (sponsorship & advertising £3.1m, commercial £3.9m and other income £2.8m), followed by Aberdeen £7.7m and Hearts £5.1m.
#CelticFC had the highest wage bill with £54m, ahead of #RangersFC £43m, though the gap has narrowed to £11m from £35m in 2018. There remains an abyss between the Old Firm and the other Scottish clubs, i.e. the next highest are Aberdeen £10m, Hearts £9m and Hibernian £7m.
Most Scottish clubs have reasonable wages to turnover ratios, just above UEFA’s recommended upper limit of 70%, but that’s not too bad in a COVID-impacted season. The highest (worst) was Ross County 103%, followed by Motherwell 85%, #CelticFC 77%, Hibernian 74% & #RangersFC 73%.
#CelticFC £12.2m player amortisation, the annual charge to write-off transfer fees over a player’s contract, was the highest in Scotland, well ahead of #RangersFC £7.6m. Both clubs are a lot higher than the rest: Hibernian £0.5m, Aberdeen £0.4m and Hearts £0.4m.
Scottish clubs do not often pay big money to sign players. In fact, #CelticFC gross transfer spend of £20.7m in 2019/20 was easily more than the rest of the Scottish Premiership combined with the next highest being #RangersFC £11.0m, followed by Aberdeen £1.3m and Hearts £0.4m.
#RangersFC £19.3m gross debt is more than all the other Scottish Premiership clubs combined (£15.7m) with the next highest being Hearts £5.7m, Celtic £5.4m and Aberdeen £1.3m. These numbers are significantly lower than most English clubs.
#CelticFC cash balance dropped from £34.1m to £22.4m in 2020, though this was still by far the highest in Scotland, more than double #RangersFC £11.1m, followed by Hibernian £5.4m, St. Johnstone £2.8m, Aberdeen £2.5m and Hearts £2.4m.
Obviously these figures for the 2019/20 season are a year behind, as we will have to wait a few months before clubs start publishing accounts for 2020/21, which will reflect a full season of COVID.
I’ve just realized that there was a formula error for Aberdeen’s profit figures in my database. Updated graphs attached. My apologies.

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More from @SwissRamble

19 Jul
Blackburn Rovers’ financial results for 2019/20 cover a season when they finished 11th in the Championship under Tony Mowbray, the “longest serving manager in the division”. Figures adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some thoughts in the following thread #Rovers
#Rovers loss widened by £4m from £18m to £22m, as revenue fell £3.2m (19%) from £16.7m to £13.2m, while operating expenses grew £3.6m (10%), partly offset by profit on player sales rising £2.5m to £3.1m and £0.6m government furlough income.
All three #Rovers revenue streams were lower, mainly due to COVID: commercial dropped £1.5m (27%) from £5.5m to £4.0m; match day fell £1.0m (29%) from £3.7m to £2.7m; and broadcasting was down £0.6m (8%) from £7.4m to £6.8m.
Read 37 tweets
14 Jul
Sheffield Wednesday’s financial results for 2019/20 cover a season when they finished 16th in the Championship, though they have since been relegated to League One. Manager Garry Monk since replaced by Tony Pulis, in turn succeeded by Darren Moore. Some thoughts follow #SWFC
#SWFC swung from £19m profit to £24m loss, largely due to prior year including £38m profit from selling the stadium and a £6.5m “confidential settlement payment”. Revenue fell £1.9m (8%) from £22.8m to £20.9m, while expenses were flat. Profit on player sales rose £3.4m to £6.2m. Image
#SWFC match day fell £2.0m (23%) from £8.6m to £6.6m, while commercial was down £0.4m (7%) from £6.1m to £5.7m, but broadcasting rose £0.5m (6%) from £8.0m to £8.5m. Note: match day and broadcasting not separated in accounts, so I have estimated these based on similar clubs. Image
Read 44 tweets
12 Jul
Fulham’s financial results for 2019/20 cover a season when they were promoted to the Premier League after just a single year in the Championship, finishing 4th, then winning the play-off under manager Scott Parker. Some thoughts in the following thread #FFC
#FFC pre-tax loss widened from £20m to £48m, as revenue fell £80m (58%) from £138m to £58m, due to relegation to the Championship and the impact of COVID, partly offset by profit on player sales rising £23m to £25m, while expenses were cut £29m (18%). Loss after tax was £45m. Image
#FFC £80m revenue fall was largely driven by broadcasting’s £65m (60%) decrease from £109m to £44m, due to lower TV money in Championship, though commercial also dropped £9m (52%) from £18m to £9m and match day fell £5m (48%) from £11m to £6m. Image
Read 43 tweets
5 Jul
#WatfordFC 2019/20 financial results covered a season that the club described as “unique and challenging”, as it ended in relegation after they finished 19th in the Premier League and they had 3 managers: Javi Gracia, Quique Sanchez Flores and Nigel Pearson. Some thoughts follow.
#WatfordFC swung from £10m pre-tax profit to £36m loss, as revenue decreased £28m (19%) from club record £148m to £120m and profit on player sales fell £4m to £18m, while expenses increased £9m (6%). Prior year boosted by £4.5m Marco Silva compensation. Loss after tax was £32m. Image
The main driver of #WatfordFC revenue reduction was broadcasting, which fell £24m (20%) from £119m to £95m, while match day dropped £2.0m (21%) to £7.3m, commercial decreased £1.2m (6%) to £17.4m and player loans were down £0.9m to £84k. Image
Read 40 tweets
28 Jun
The format of UEFA’s competitions will change next season with the addition of the Europa Conference League to the existing Champions League and Europa League, so I thought it might be interesting to see how this will impact the revenue distributions in 2021/22.
UEFA estimate gross revenue will increase by €250m (8%) from €3.25 bln to €3.5 bln. €323m is deducted to cover competition-related costs, while €105m (3%) is set aside for qualifying rounds, €140m (4%) for non-participating clubs and €10m for Women’s Champions League.
That leaves €2.92 bln net revenue, of which €190m (6.5%) is reserved for European football and remains with UEFA, while €2.732 bln is distributed to the participating clubs, split Champions League €2.032 bln (74%), Europa League €465m (17%) and Europa Conference €235m (9%).
Read 23 tweets
22 Jun
Manchester United have announced financial results for Q3 of 2020/21, incorporating the first 9 months of the season. This covers January to March 2021, so provides further insight into the impact of COVID. Some thoughts in the following thread #MUFC
For Q3 #MUFC pre-tax loss improved from £29m to £23m, despite revenue dropping £5m (4%) to £118m, a £1m loss on player sales and expenses rising £7m (5%). This operational decline was offset by net interest payable falling from £25m to £1m thanks to forex gains.
The main reason that #MUFC revenue only fell 4% in Q3 was £33m increase in broadcasting to £59m, due to return to Champions League, which compensated for COVID influenced reductions in match day, down £28m (95%) to £2m, and commercial, down £10m (15%) to £58m.
Read 35 tweets

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