$10m JobKeeper lifeline barely keeps Tigers afloat
Richmond says it took back-to-back premierships and more than $10 million in JobKeeper funds for the club to declare a "wafer-thin" profit this year.
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon lauded the Federal Government's JobKeeper initiative for keeping businesses including AFL clubs alive during COVID lockdowns.
The Dogs were able to declare a fifth consecutive profit of $1 million this year, a $1.8 million surplus with JobKeeper allowing the club to keep on many of its staff during lockdown. Richmond's financial results included $10.8 million in JobKeeper payments across the football club and its range of businesses, but the club made only a $217,727 profit.
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A handful of AFL rookies and low-paid players accessed JobKeeper through the AFL Players' Association.
Customarily clubs in Richmond's position are able to declare vast financial windfalls through ticket sales, prizemoney and merchandise sales.
The Tigers had declared profits in excess of $4 million in the previous two seasons.
Richmond boss Brendon Gale said the Tigers were pleased to keep their nose in front despite the sacrifices made in staffing and redundancies.
"We are $20 million down on our normal revenue and we were looking down the barrel of a multimillion-dollar loss," he said.
"Things did improve and it took a premiership, which you can never budget for, to allow us to declare a wafer-thin surplus. But it was on the back of a $20 million revenue reduction and working with a skeleton staff."
Gordon said of the JobKeeper program: "Holistically I am a man from the left side of politics but I have to admire the Scott Morrison government for JobKeeper. It was very important to AFL clubs just as it was to businesses right across Australia," he said.
"My guess was the Dogs would record far and away the biggest loss in our history, in excess of $8 million and possibly $10 million."
He told SEN the club had to stand down 70 people but eventually improved the club's financial picture enough to make a profit.
Originally published as $10m JobKeeper lifeline barely keeps Tigers afloat