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Super League chairman recognises staggering £2.5 million loss

Wigan Warriors Stadium the DW Stadium

It’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc with club’s finances, but none have perhaps been as open about it as Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan.

Lenagan held a fans’ forum earlier this week where he – and right-hand man Kris Radlinski – discussed some of the most pressing issues going forward at Wigan.

One of those issues is, of course, the financial stability of the club following an intense 18 months.

“Through no attendances, we’ve been helped by the contribution from Season Ticket Holders and from furlough and lots of other things,” Lenagan said.

“If you look at our normal revenue of 7 million in the next two years, 19, 20 and 21, we’ve lost 4.2 million of our revenue. That’s what we’ve had to fill – that is a big gap to fill.

“And like many other Rugby League clubs and football clubs, to have survived, that is damn good going. Where does the funding come from? Well, being self-centred, 500,000 of ownership funding. That’s from us.

“You’ve also got 2 million that we take the loan on from Sport England. So, we are two and a half million pounds worse off because of what’s happened but delighted to be surviving with Wigan because that’s what we’ve all done. And the Season Ticket Holders equally, you can see what we’ve got from 450 grand from donations from Season Ticket Holders, that is superb to see to get us through that.

“From the government, we’ve got furlough. But if you look at the 2 million of funding that we’ve had to take from Sport England alone, from 2023 we are paying quarter of million pounds back every year. That comes straight off our wages bill.

“So, in terms of players that’s 250 grand a year for the next 10 years, as well as losing 200 grand a year in terms of the TV deal. So that’s the shortfall that Covid and TV are costing us.”

Lenagan went on to explain that such cost-cutting measures are the reason why no ‘big names’ have been brought to the club as of yet.

“So, when people are saying, why can’t we spend more money on players? Well, you’ve immediately got 450 grand there, which is four / five players or two and a half marquee players. That’s what we’re facing.

“That’s why we haven’t rushed out to buy yet another expensive player because we can’t afford it. It’s as simple as that. So that’s the revenue income short, the shortfall and where the money’s come from.”

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