Record revenues for FA as major income streams prove reliable
English soccer’s Football Association has posted a 16.2-per-cent increase in revenues for the last financial year, on the back of healthy increases in broadcasting and marketing income.
The governing body yesterday announced record turnover of £369.7 million ($459 million) for the 12 months to the end of July 2016.
This compares with £318.1 million for the same period a year earlier.
Costs increased from £60.7 million to £82.2 million, but the growth in revenues enabled the FA to post an after-tax profit of £7.1 million, compared to a loss of £9.1 million in 2014-15.
Despite a disappointing end to the season on the pitch, as England crashed out of the 2016 European Championships to Iceland in the last 16, the FA was able to secure an increase in turnover from all its major income streams.
Broadcasting revenue rose by 9.5 per cent, from £124.1 million to £135.9 million, as the FA, like other European national associations, moved from a system of individually sold to centrally marketed rights for qualifying matches, with compensation from Uefa.
Meanwhile, turnover from sponsorship and licensing climbed by 29.4 per cent, from £58.4 million to £75.6 million, helped by a new title sponsorship deal for the domestic FA Cup with Dubai-based airline Emirates.
The other main sources of income included events, as revenue went up by 29.8 per cent, from £43 million to £55.9 million, as there were 35 events at Wembley Stadium, the home of the England national team, in 2015-16, up from 28 the previous year.
Income from the Club Wembley hospitality business edged up by 1.5 per cent, from £55.7 million to £56.5 million.
The growth in revenues allowed the FA to invest £125 million in grassroots soccer in the last financial year and the outlook looks rosy going forward as a result of lucrative commercial deals concluded in the final quarter of 2016.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “We are delighted to be in such strong financial health… this allows us to invest even more money than ever before back into every level of our national game.”
Under a deal finalised last October, the governing body will receive over $1 billion in six-year international rights contracts for the FA Cup with Pitch International and IMG.
From 2018-19, UK-based Pitch, a long-time FA partner, will be responsible for the sale of rights to the FA Cup in Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in an agreement worth close to $300 million, while IMG is paying $730 million for the rights in the rest of the world.
The FA has also extended its partnership with Nike, the US sportswear giant, for a further 12 years, to 2030, in a deal reported to be worth £400 million.
Despite the healthy balance sheet the FA is under pressure to reform, with the UK Parliament’s House of Commons having last week passed a motion of no confidence in the organisation.
Members of Parliament have warned the governing body that action will be taken from above if changes to its constitution are not forthcoming.
The FA has faced repeated criticism for a lack of diversity, with Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport select committee among various organisations to have called for an overhaul of its board and council. Only eight of the body’s 122 councillors are women, and just four are from an ethnic minority background.
However, FA chairman Greg Clarke has threatened to quit if the body cannot win government support for its own reform plans, and is coordinating with sports minister Tracey Couch to achieve this.