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Bulldogs eradicate debt with third straight significant profit

December 6, 2017 11:00 AM

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We are unable to recall the last time the Club was in a position of having nil net debt. It is at least forty years. So that’s extremely satisfying.

The Western Bulldogs Football Club is set to report a consolidated net profit of $1,643,050 for the financial year ended 31 October 2017, and that its net debt has been extinguished. 

The financial result will be the Club’s third consecutive year of profit in excess of $1 million, underpinned by growth in membership and commercial revenue.

The strong performance has enabled the repayment of the Club’s bank borrowings and strengthened its balance sheet and financial health.

“The key financial objective for 2017 was to continue to reduce debt while supporting growth and investing in football to support our three teams. Each of those financial objectives was achieved,” said Bulldogs’ CEO Gary Kent. 

“We are unable to recall the last time the Club was in a position of having nil net debt.  It is at least forty years.  So that’s extremely satisfying.

“The investment for growth has enabled the Club to expand operations in Ballarat and provide for additional resources for marketing, membership services, commercial operations and our community programs. 

“We have worked hard over the last few years to grow our financial strength, and it’s the dedication of the entire organisation which has helped us into a position where we are debt free while continuing to invest heavily in the Club.”

Football expenditure increased by $2.8 million in 2017 and was invested in resources for coaching, high performance, player welfare and recruitment for the AFL, VFL and AFLW teams, as well as the establishment of the Next Generation Academy.

The Bulldogs set a membership record for the third straight year, with 47,709 members signing up in 2017, an increase of 19% from the previous year.

Revenue from Commercial Partnerships also set a Club record with a growth of 8.9% to $10.5 million.

“The renewal of Mission Foods as the Club’s major partner for a further three years from 2018, the announcement of the Club’s three-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans and the renewal of our partnership with Victoria University for a further five years will provide tremendous opportunities for partnering with these world class organisations,” Kent said.

“The growth in number and quality of sponsors and partners is also recognition of the increased value being attributed to the Club’s brand and its commercial assets.”

The Club’s charity arm, the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, also continued its outstanding work in 2017.  The Foundation partnered with government, corporate and community agencies, committing over $1.5 million to running its thriving suite of programs.

The audited financial report is scheduled for approval by the Western Bulldogs Board on December 12.

Highlights of the Bulldogs’ financial performance:

  • Consolidated net profit of $1.6 million
  • Third successive year of profit in excess of $1 million
  • Bank borrowings fully re-paid and nil net debt at year end
  • Increase in revenue of 7.3% to $51.9m
  • Investment in Football department increased by $2.8m to $25 million
  • Membership growth of 19% to a record level of 47,709
  • Commercial partnerships revenue growth of 8.9%
  • Renewal of Mission Foods as major partner to end of 2020
  • Announcement of three-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans, commencing in 2018
  • Merchandise revenue of $2.5 million
  • Historical first season of the Western Bulldogs AFLW team and partnership with Western Spurs for a Western Bulldogs VFLW team in 2018
  • Average AFL home attendances at Etihad Stadium increased to 36,306
  • Inaugural AFL match at Mars Stadium in Ballarat
  • Expansion of community programs into Western Victoria and the launch of the Daughters of the West program