Wigan Warriors post seven-figure operating loss

Wigan Warriors have posted an operating loss of more than £1.75million for the year ending November 30, 2021.

The alarming figure of £1,757,809 was revealed in their annual report and accounts, lodged with Companies House.

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It's a huge increase in operating loss from the previous year, which stood at £442,595.

Wigan Warriors

Both figures were partly as a result of the Covid pandemic, with significant chunks of each campaign having to be played behind closed doors.

Indeed, only 16 per cent of the club's total income of £4,672,472 came from matchday revenue to 34 per cent in 2019.

The club owes a total of £9,353,339 to creditors due within a year, and another £2,004,680 to creditors over a period of more than one year.

However, of those amounts, £6,250,192 is owed to Lenagan Investments Limited, which is owned and operated by Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan and members of his family.

"The company reported an operating loss of £1,758k (2020: £443k) for the year," read the report. "As in 2020, the results for the year were significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular matchday revenues during periods of no or restricted attendance.

“As the company’s operations continued throughout 2021, the availability of Covid-19 related government support was significantly reduced (in particular the Job Retention Scheme), and as a result the ability to utilise this support to mitigate the reduction in revenue was significantly reduced.

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“As a consequence, the company made a much greater operating loss in 2021 than in 2020.

"While this has been challenging, the losses have been managed through utilisation of loan funding from the UK Government and from Lenagan Investments Limited."

Overall turnover increased by 3.6 per cent to £4.6million, while salary costs increased by 4.5 per cent to £4.6million.

"The board's medium-term goal for the company continues to be to achieve a break-even performance to both ensure the financial sustainability of the company and to provide the best opportunity for continued success in rugby league," the report continued.

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"The company has utilised the loan finding made available to professional rugby league by the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In addition to the £980k borrowed in August 2020, during the year the company borrowed a further amount of £1,025k in June 2021.

"The terms of the loan are favourable, with repayments not expected to commence until 2023.

"The board is confident that the repayment terms and interest payments will be able to be managed in the future without a material impact on the resources of the rugby league team.

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"The board has taken further steps to secure sufficient funding from Lenagan Investments Limited to give the company the best chance to be able to continue to progress with the joint strategies of successful rugby league performance and financial sustainability."

The report also acknowledges there is a ‘high degree of uncertainty over what lasting impact there may be on attendances and matchday revenue’ in the post-Covid era.

And it recognises the ‘material part its income’ is ‘reliant’ on the Super League broadcasting contract, which is up for renewal at the end of next year.