Wembley’s £21.4 Million Loss

At the beginning of the month papers including the Daily Telegraph revealed Wembley lost £22 million in its first year, so it was no surprise when the official numbers were pretty much in line.

The Football Association, Wembley National Stadium Ltd.’s parent company, landed £550 million worth of TV rights deals last year – mainly for live soccer –so the day-to-day losses and interest payments are covered.

"It was never envisaged that the stadium would record a profit in the first few years of operation," said WNSL managing director Alex Horne, as the company revealed a loss of £21.4 million.

WNSL promised that the second year’s trading will produce "a substantial improvement in turnover." It may even make a profit over the next financial year.

Apart from the core revenue from football and rugby league events, WNSL is hoping that more concerts like Madonna’s September 11 show and other sports events – including American football – will put more dates in the 2008 diary.

The stadium pulled in £65.5million in revenue over a nine-month trading period, mainly from ticket sales, but now hopes to reduce the cost of running the events from the £34.2 million it cost last year.

The cuts are expected to begin with a reduction in the number of staff members needed to operate the place. In its first year, the priority given to safety and the need for workers to familiarise themselves with the new venue meant most events were deliberately overstaffed to ensure they ran smoothly.

Overheads and other operating costs hit £21 million, while the final stages of the development led to nonrecurring costs of £10.1 million.

Also, the building’s not worth what it was. The figures included £21.6 million in depreciation costs.

Pre-tax interest payments on the syndicated loans needed to build the stadium were £31.9 million. WNSL has repaid £80 million of the £426.4 million debt and is on course to have cleared the debt by 2018.