By David Owen
March 5 – The market value of Leicester City’s playing squad is reckoned to have nearly quadrupled to £236.3 million as a consequence of last year’s fairy tale season which ended with the Foxes crowned Premier League champions in one of sporting history’s greatest shocks.
The figure – the directors’ assessment – is included in the Thai-owned club’s newly-published accounts, which show that a nearly £11 million profit on player sales helped to offset increased costs and mitigate a downturn in profitability in the year to 31 May 2016. Even so, pre-tax profits were down almost £10 million on the previous year at £16.4 million. There was a downturn in operating profit of similar magnitude to £18.5 million.
While increased income from broadcasting rights helped propel turnover to £128.7 million, it is worth recording that both sponsorship and advertising revenue and gate receipts were actually down, in spite of the club’s scarcely believable success.
The cost of sales leapt from £71.4 million to £108.6 million, with employee costs up from £57.4 million to £80.4 million.
The profit on player sales was unrelated to star midfielder N’Golo Kanté, who signed for Chelsea in mid-July and looks well on his way to securing a second consecutive Premier League winner’s medal.
Indeed, with Leicester now languishing in the league’s lower reaches and having recently parted company with overachieving manager Claudio Ranieri, the period to which the new figures relate already seems like a long time ago.
The club has since spent a net nearly £50 million in the transfer market and will probably have to absorb another sharp cost increase in 2016-17. Nonetheless, with a sharp increase in Premier League broadcasting income expected and the novelty of a run to the Champions League knockout stages to take into account, another profitable year is probably to be expected.
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