Sunderland accounts explained as £9m loss posted

Sunderland Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus
Sunderland Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus -Credit:Greig Cowie/REX/Shutterstock

Sunderland’s accounts for the year ending July 2023 have been published showing an operating loss of £9m. The figures encompass a first season back in the Championship where they reached the play-offs, losing to Luton Town in the semi-finals.

The costs of running a football club takes on sharp focus when you consider Sunderland’s turnover was increased to £35m, which was £9m more than the previous year, which included their promotion from League One. Despite the increase in revenue, operating costs grew from £5m to £9m.

There was a huge rise in TV and media revenue, up by £7m to £10m while gate receipts were up by £1m. The significant rise in costs and expenses were significant and came about as a direct result of promotion back to the Championship. Sunderland’s wage bill rose from £14.5m to £22.9m, with the total number of staff on the club’s books increasing from 189 to 229.

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That can be seen as a positive step given the redundancies which were forced on the club caused by the relegation to League One. The club’s operating expenses increased from £30.3m in 2022 to £41m the following year while player sales were a modest £308k.

The accounts state: “The club continued to invest in a strong core of talented players and we believe this will provide the foundations for continued progression throughout the upcoming seasons that will culminate in our ultimate objective of returning to the PL.

“At the start of the 2023/24 season, only one first team player remains following the first game following Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ acquisition of the club, which represents a significant transformation and underlines substantial progress made during a short space of time.

“KLD has led the club on a strategy to create a sustainable business that aims to return to the PL. It is recognised that this requires a long-term outlook and all decisions are aimed at enabling the club to maximise on the field performance through improving the contribution from commercial activities.”

The notes continued: “We continue to strive to secure promotion to the PL and as a club that aims to be financially sustainable, this will be built on continued investment in the club to improve overall commercial performance.”

Season tickets were up from 32,000 to 35,000 for this season and it will be interesting to see where that figure heads given the slump in form in recent weeks with the prospect of one or two of the best players leaving in the summer. The recruitment of a new head coach will at least add excitement and hopefully reignite interest from fans who have become disinterested in what has been on offer in recent matches.