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North West football club is victim of own success with 280% business rate rise

Some North West football clubs have more to worry about than just their league position as the 2016/17 season draws to a close.

Having gathered the business rates data following the revaluation, there are very different winners and losers in the Premiership and Championship Divisions when looking at the BR bills that have landed with the clubs for 2017/18.

In the North West, for example, Premiership bottom half Burnley face a whopping 280% increase in its business rates’ bill, going from £305,000 to £1.16m PA. This puts it 4th in the BR table that no-one wants to top frankly. It’s only beaten by Swansea, Southampton and Stoke. Stoke go from £450k to £1.77m (+293%) and sit third in this table.

At the other end of the scale Wigan come bottom of this league seeing a welcome 50.91% decrease from £1.1m to £540,000. Blackburn also enjoy a financial break seeing its rates’ bill go down by 28.2%, falling from £1.17m to £840,000.

To understand why rateable values have increased dramatically from the 2010 List to the 2017 List you have to consider the trading profile and success of the Club at the relevant valuation dates for each Rating List – namely 1 April 2008 and 1 April 2015.

Football Stadia are valued based upon a Club’s accounts and thus its success. Current 2017 List values have a valuation date of 1 April 2015 and so Clubs that experienced a particularly good few years running up to that date will have been most impacted. 

Leicester City, for example, went on their amazing run to the Premiership Title across the 2015-16 Season from Aug 2015 to June 2016.  Increased revenues from the League and TV rights combined with the increased number of ticket sales due to their success that year will no doubt have contributed to their RV increasing by over 260% just when they were at a ‘Peak’ point in the Club’s history.  The previous valuation date for the 2010 list values was 1 April 2008 when conversely; Leicester were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2007–08 season.

Back in the North West, it seems the only positive thing to come out of Sir Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United was a drop in their rateable value. The Scot leaving United at the end of the 2012-13 Season has led to a fall in success at the Club, TV revenue as well as match day revenues. This has led to a -8.14% decrease compared to their 2010 RV. In comparison, the team across the other side of the city has had its RV increase by 23.18%, due to their increased level of success since the Abu Dhabi United Group invested billions into the Club since their purchase in August 2008.

In this respect, it seems that there is a financial sting in the tail of business rates for any football clubs that enjoy too much success on the field.

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