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AFC Bournemouth ‘vulnerable’ if Premier League season cancelled due to Covid-19

Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has warned that AFC Bournemouth are financially vulnerable if the Premier League season is cancelled due to Covid-19

Maguire, who authored ‘The Price of Football’ and teaches on the Football Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool, says that if the season ends prematurely, it could result in broadcast partners of the Premier League refusing to make the final payments on their TV deals for the 2019/20 season, leaving AFC Bournemouth in a precarious position.

“They are vulnerable because they are reliant on a single source of income for so much of their overall revenue” said Maguire.

Broadcasting revenue accounted for £108.1 million, or roughly 82%, of AFC Bournemouth’s total turnover for the 2018/19 financial year (£131.1 million).

“I think that they would have issues unless the club owner has liquid assets which he can use to plug that gap but nobody quite knows about the nature of Maxim Denim’s wealth and I don’t think, with any due disrespect to him, that he’s in the same position as Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City”, Maguire added.

“It could be a challenge.”

To hear the latest on those TV payments, listen below.

Empty stadiums

If the 2019/20 Premier League season does resume, it is highly likely that all matches would be played behind closed doors.

AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium is the smallest in the Premier League, with a capacity of just 11,329. This means the club’s matchday revenues are the lowest in the Premier League and as a result, only account for £4.9 million, or just under 4%, of AFC Bournemouth’s total £131.1 million turnover.

Maguire believes that this would mean the club would only take a relatively small financial hit compared to their Premier League rivals should games be played without fans in attendance.

“Bournemouth have four percent of income coming from matchday (revenue) so provided the broadcasters maintain the level of payments for the season 2019/20, then Bournemouth would be relatively well insulated compared to other clubs in the Premier League” Maguire said.

“I think that’s the reason why the Premier League are so keen to complete the season, because it would mean that they can go to their broadcasting partners and say, ‘well here’s the product for you now give us our final payments’.”

Government stance on football’s return

Earlier this week, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that he had been in talks with Premier League bosses about the return of the football season.

“I personally have been in talks with the Premier League with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community” said Dowden.

“But of course, any such moves would have to be consistent with public health guidance.”

The Premier League say that the league’s resumption date is under constant review and that it will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

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