Debt surges to €488m at Messi’s Barça as Covid hits all revenue streams

By David Owen

October 6 – Spanish giants Barcelona have reported an after-tax loss of €97 million and a more than doubled net debt-load, as Covid-19 took a heavy toll on last season’s financial results.

The Catalonian club put net debt at end-June 2020 at €488 million. This compared with just €217 million a year earlier. It indicated that, absent the pandemic, debt would have been “around €363 million”, implying a €125 million negative balance-sheet impact.

The club, crushed 8-2 by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 Champions League, said revenue totalled €855 million, down from €990 million in 2018-19.

Commercial income fell 9% to €297 million. The club estimated the impact of Covid in this area at minus €72 million. This was due to “the inability to close certain commercial agreements that were at an advanced state of negotiation before the pandemic” and “losses associated with the sale of products in the club’s official stores”.

Venue operations fell 24% year-on-year to €162 million, while media and TV revenue dropped 17% to €249 million. The Covid-related impact here was put at €35 million, as postponed fixtures slipped into the 2020-21 financial year.

The club also recorded €148 million of revenue labelled “other and transfers”, with Covid blamed for a negative €29 million impact, relating to “transfers that would have been made at the end of the domestic season, and which could not be made”.

Barça said the combined effect of the pandemic and the transfer of profits and losses to 2020-21 led to lower estimated revenue of €203 million and lower estimated expenses of €74 million.

The announcement provides an early reading of the detailed financial impact of the pandemic on one of Europe’s mega-clubs. Figures from the Manchester giants would normally be expected to kick off the Premier League results season in the near future. The North London club Tottenham Hotspur said in June that its estimated revenue loss “may exceed £200 million for the period to June 2021”.

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