Watford have turned a profit for the first time in three years, their accounts for the 2015/16 season show – aided by a whopping £75 million rise in TV and media income from their return to the Premier League.
The Hornets made a pre-tax profit of £3.6 million, with turnover ballooning from £18.3 million during 2014/15 to £94.5 million for the year ending June 30, 2016.
The newly published accounts call the club’s financial performance during the campaign “one of the most successful in recent history”, a year after they recorded a £4.8 million loss during their last season in the Championship.
A huge increase in income deriving from TV and broadcasting agreements, from £4.6 million to £79.6 million, is largely offset by Watford’s playing budget – with £64.4 million spent on transfer fees, and player wages rising by 220 per cent over the previous year to hit £50.2 million.
Although liabilities – the amount Watford are obliged to pay in future in transfer fees, wages, signing on fees or other amounts – exceed the value of the club’s assets by £5.2 million, the accounts note “dependent on team performance” this balance may be redressed by the end of 2016/17.
During 2015/16, a £15 million loan was granted by owner Gino Pozzo to the club from his holding firm Hornets Investment Limited, with an interest rate of six per cent. It was paid back in full at some point during the current campaign, as was another £12 million loan to an un-named third party.
Addressing the current season, the accounts, compiled by chief executive Scott Duxbury, state the club expect to register a net profit of some £25 million, thanks to increased revenue from the Premier League’s new TV deal.
Duxbury also confirms £55 million, a slight reduction from last season, has been spent on transfer fees during the current campaign.