QPR cut their losses, despite matchday hit

QUEENS PARK RANGERS may have lost £ 4.5 million in 2020-21, but given the previous year’s deficit of £ 16.4 million, there’s reasons to be cheerful at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. Their loss was the lowest since 2006, which demonstrates the progress being made behind the scenes.

The club’s turnover for the year was £ 14.5 million, a drop of £ 3.8 million on 2019-20, largely due to the almost complete loss of matchday income during the height of the pandemic. In normal circumstances, QPR could count on gate receipts of around £ 5 million, although in their Premier days, £ 8 million was a more realistic figure. Thankfully, commercial and broadcasting income remained stable at £ 5.8 million and £ 8.6 million respectively.

Over the past five years, QPR’s revenues have fallen from £ 48 million in 2016-17 to the current level (a 70% decline) partly due to the expiry of their parachute payments after relegation from the Premier League. Between 2015-16 and 2018-19, QPR received £ 90 million from the Premier.

In that same period, wages have dropped from £ 31 million to £ 24.1 million, 23% down from their 2017 peak. Unsurprisingly, the wage-to-income ratio has rocketed from 64% to 166%, but the 2020-21 wage bill is in the lower half of the Championship. The club has come a long way in restoring sanity after allowing wages to touch £ 80 million in 2014. At the same time, QPR have worked hard on cost cutting and expenses were reduced by 33% in 2021.

Player trading remains an important source of income and the club’s profit on sales amounted to £ 17.6 million, thanks to the transfer of Ebere Eze to Crystal Palace for £ 19.5 million in August 2020. QPR made a number of acquisitions, spending a total of £ 8.3 million, notably on Lyndon Dykes from Livingston (£ 2 million), Macauley Bonne from Charlton Athletic (£ 2 million) and Oxford United’s Rob Dickie (£ 1.5 million). They were among the top six spenders in the Championship, but according to Transfermarkt, the value of the club’s squad is just £ 35 million.

The 2020-21 season was manager Mark Warburton’s second since being appointed in May 2019. He is QPR’s longest serving coach since Ian Holloway, who was employed between 2001 and 2006. Ninth place in 2020-21 was the club’s best finish since returning to the Championship.

The club needs to move from the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium (Loftus Road) and there has been talk of a new ground for more than a decade. It is widely acknowledged that QPR is not a sustainable club without a new home. The current capacity of Loftus Road is just under 18,500. An important part of QPR’s future is also the new training ground at Heston, a project that will cost some £ 20 million. The club received £ 10.6 million of shareholder financing in 2020-21 and also completed a bond issue of £ 10 million, the latter being used for the purchase and development of the Heston ground.

Although the pandemic continues to influence football’s balance sheet, the future looks a little brighter for Queens Park Rangers. The question is, can they mount a challenge to win back their Premier League place any time soon?

QPR looking more optimistic, despite loss

QUEENS PARK Rangers have released their 2019-20 financial report and like many clubs, revenues were severely hit by the covid-19 pandemic. QPR’s turnover, which no longer benefits from parachute payments, reduced from £ 34.6 million to £ 18.3 million, a drop of 48% on 2018-19. The club’s income is now in the lower half of the Championship.

QPR lost £ 16.4 million after tax, an increase of around £ 6 million on 2018-19. Over the past decade, the club’s annual losses have totalled around £ 250 million, although in recent years, they have been lower than the period between 2011 and 2015. Revenues peaked at £ 86 million in 2015, more than 4.5 times the current level. QPR’s loss for 2018-19 is relatively modest compared to their Championship rivals – Stoke City, for example, lost £ 87 million.

Although matchday cash predictably fell by 26% to £ 4 million ( 2019-20 gates averaged 13,721) and commercial revenues fell by 20% to £ 5.8 million, the biggest drop was the 72% decline in media income, from £22 million to £ 8.4 million, which was largely attributable to the termination of parachute payments. QPR’s TV income was their lowest from this revenue stream since 2011.

But QPR appear to be in better shape than a few years ago and they are currently free of Financial Fair Play concerns. But with losses continuing, the club is very dependent on the continued support of its key shareholders, Total Soccer Growth Sdn Bhd and QPR Asia Sdn Bhd, to ensure it remains a going concern.

The club managed to cut its costs, including a 16% reduction in wages to £ 20 million. QPR’s wage bill is one of the smallest in the Championship, the weekly average some 30% below the division’s overall average.

With the fall in revenues, the wage-to-income rate rose from 69% to 109%. This is still considerably below 2013 and 2014 when the rate was 129% and 195% respectively. It is also lower than the Championship average of 130%, a precarious figure if ever there was one.

Similarly, the club’s net debt is now around £ 52.3 million, way lower than the 2011-15 period when net debt climbed as high as £ 193 million, but still significant. Cash has declined, however, and stands at a rather low £ 1.1 million compared to more than £ 3.5 million a year earlier. 

QPR generated £ 6 million in profits from the sale of Luke Freeman (fee £ 5m), Massimo Luongo (£1m) and Darnell Furlong (£ 1.53m). On the other hand, their total expenditure on players, at £ 55,000 , was the lowest in the Championship.

QPR’s future depends on a number of factors, but the club is still keen to move away from their current home. They finished ninth in the Championship in 2020-21, but the financials for the recently-completed season may be challenging given the fact that a whole season has passed with negligible matchday income. On the positive side, though, 2020-21 will include transfer income received for the sale of Eberechi Eze to Crystal Palace for a record fee of £ 17 million.

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Photo: GOTP

QPR, West London’s wilderness club

THE FUTURE of Queens Park Rangers largely depends on two things: how the club navigates its way through the Coronavirus crisis; and secondly, the relocation to a new, more versatile stadium in the future.

In 2018, an English newspaper named the club one of the worst managed in Britain. This was largely due to a poor record in the transfer market, overspending and a lack of stability caused by short-term managers  and a high turnover of players.

QPR, desperate to be  part of the Premier League gravy train, have only been in the top flight for seven seasons in the last 28, with the Championship (step 2) now appearing to be their natural home.

Clubs such as QPR have an uncertain future due to the Coronavirus and it remains to be seen if all mid-sized entities will survive the inevitable fall-out of no football, macro-economic collapse and political turmoil.

With London a crowded football market, QPR have Fulham (3.2 miles), Chelsea (4 miles), Brentford (5 miles) within close proximity. While QPR enjoyed their moment as the leading club among this quartet, the resurgence of Chelsea and Fulham over the past 15 years has pushed them down the pecking order. The club’s financial limitations, despite wealthy backers, means QPR struggle to compete locally, while on the pitch they have declined significantly.

Game of the People’s latest State of Play study looks at QPR’s last 10 years from a number of angles: financial, playing record, managers and attendances.

Click State of Play QPR to see more