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Crows celebrate despite $1.3m loss

Football

The Adelaide Football Club posted a total loss of more than $1.3 million for the last financial year, despite “across the board” improvements in key metrics, including sponsorships and attendances.

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The statutory loss of $1,346,077 came despite a cash operating profit of $1,464,450 for 2016, itself down from $1,493,636 the previous year.

In a statement last night, the club cited “abnormal and non-cash items” for the statutory loss, including “depreciation of $1.347m, recognition of our game development grant of $1.1m and other distributions to stakeholders totaling $0.36m”.

It’s still a significant improvement from the $8.03m total loss declared two years ago.

The club was keen to emphasise the operating surplus, which was the headline of its media release and the key message offered to members at an annual briefing last night, with the total loss given only passing mention.

But the Crows have long made no bones about the fact an $8,440,845 commitment over 15 years to the development of grassroots football in SA, a condition of extricating its licence from the SANFL, was hitting its bottom line.

It also pays a levy approaching $1 million to the State Government to offset free Footy Express Services and is a significant contributor to the AFL’s equalization program – which chairman Rob Chapman last year estimated “in the vicinity of $2 million” a year.

In the last year, the club says, it paid a total of $4.3m to the SANFL, AFL and State Government, “making our club a significant contributor to the football economy”.

Included in the operating profit figure is a $244,640 financial hit from the recent collapse of former sponsor BLK, which provided the players’ uniforms.

The club claims “record membership” of more than 67,000 and the “highest average home match attendance in the AFL”, with a “record revenue of $48.3m”.

“We operate in an increasingly challenging environment and our off-field results speak volumes of our members and fans who offer unwavering support,” Chapman said in a statement.

“There has been improvement across each and every area of our operations, as well as back-to-back finals appearances, and those supporters should take comfort knowing the club is in a strong position.”

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