Bath Rugby reports a year of revenue growth and increased investment in its 2018 financial statements.
The Club saw a 7% rise in year on year revenue to £19.8m driven by an increase in central income relating to the new four year domestic broadcast deal with BT Sport which runs through to the 2020/21 season, together with increased corporate and ticketing revenues at the Club.
The Club’s continued commitment to invest in the long term manifested itself in a 90% increase in Academy expenditure in 2017/18, as part of an overall strategy to develop a first team squad of at least 50% home grown players by 2023. In addition, the executive team was strengthened to help drive management focus on the Stadium for Bath project alongside the core activities of the Club.
The investment into the Academy helped further strengthen and develop key player pathway partnerships with local schools and the University of Bath which are now delivering a rich vein of future talent in the academy system. Over the past 24-months Bath Rugby has seen its academy contingent in all age groups place higher in the 2018/19 competitions than ever before. The increased commitment to develop its pathway and its people within it, has been recognised at a national level with eight Bath Rugby pathway players recently representing England in the U18 and U20 Six Nations squads.
Further to this, the Club continued to make significant progress towards the submission of a planning application for an exceptional new 18,000 capacity stadium in the heart of Bath providing a regenerated riverside and community facilities for all. These facilities will include a 40,000 square foot riverside park and a broader social legacy which provides a learning academy supporting over 200 young adults not in education, employment or training each year to achieve BTEC level qualifications.
It is noted that the Club’s current facilities, comprising temporary stands and ancillary facilities, cost in the region of £1 million per annum to operate.
These investment decisions, along with the on-going operating costs for a temporary stadium, contributed to an “EBITDA” trading loss for the year of £1.3m (2017: £0.8m).
The reported loss after tax of £3.1m (2017: £2.5m) accounts for a significant depreciation charge which will reduce in future seasons.
Chief Executive Tarquin McDonald commented, “Our stated ambition remains to be challenging for honours at both the domestic and European levels and these results reflect the continued long-term investments being made in order to achieve that goal.
“Whilst performances remain inconsistent and below the expectation that we and our supporters desire, we remain focused on investing for the future. Our people, our development pathway, and an amazing new home for our supporters in the heart of Bath remain at the core of our plans.”