| || In December, the Premier League, England’s top soccer league, bailed out the English Football League Championship, which has 24 teams and is the country’s second-highest soccer division, with $345 million (£250 million) of loans—$69 million (£50 million) for two teams and a $276 million (£200 million) interest-free loan facility. This week, the insurer MetLife agreed to lend the Championship another $162 million (£118 million). The money was desperately needed, particularly after a $104 million (£75 million) loan facility the league had arranged in January with the Bank of England fell through. The Championship expects to have a decline of approximately $207 million (£150 million) in gate receipts and other match-day revenue streams from playing the equivalent of an entire season without spectators in attendance, and small Championship teams have gotten whacked. For the year ending May 2020, Bristol City posted revenue of $38 million (£27 million) and negative EBITDA of $29 million (£21 million). Its debt stood at $99 million (£72 million). Middlesbrough had negative EBITDA of $2.6 million (£1.9 million) on revenue of $27 million (£19 million) for the year ending June 2020. Its balance sheet showed a shareholders’ deficit of $118.5 million (£85.8 million). This season, most Championship teams have not had spectators at all, with the other teams permitting around 2,000 per game. |
Despite the loans, I suspect some of these teams will be sold at fire-sale prices. Crystal Palace, which is among the smaller teams currently competing in the top-flight Premier League, posted revenue of $214 million (£155 million) and EBITDA of $22 million (£16 million) for the year ending July 2019. It has now been on the block for over a year with an asking price of around $275 million (£200 million) and has found no takers.