EFL clubs fear a ‘catastrophic’ winter with rising energy costs and TV World Cup football as they face another crisis after barely surviving the Covid-19 pandemic… as Shrewsbury Town CEO reveals the bills are doubled
- League One and League Two clubs face a tough winter with rising energy costs
- Electricity bill in Shrewsbury expected to rise from £100,000 to £200,000
- The club lost in the two and a half years during Covid. an estimated £2.5 million
- CEO Brian Caldwell suspects the idea of the afternoon kick-offs isn’t the answer
Worrying trends are already taking shape as clubs in League One and League Two prepare for the impact of the crisis on the cost of living, rising energy prices and preparing to plow through the World Cup.
There is growing concern in the lower reaches of the English football pyramid as these challenging factors converge so soon after the devastating impact of the Covid lockdowns to threaten revenue streams.
EFL attendances have been solid at the start of this season, although clubs like Lincoln City have seen signs of a decline in additional match day spending on things like food, merchandising and 50/50 prize draw tickets.
Clubs in League One and Two fear a ‘catastrophic’ winter with rising energy costs
There are also fears that the 2022 World Cup, which is on TV every day, could affect club audiences
“The trend we’re seeing is that in general fans still want to look at the team and support the team,” Lincoln CEO Liam Scully told Sportsmail. “But because the money is under pressure, they want to spend more cautiously on things like 50/50 tickets and food at the games.
“Anecdotally, fans seem to be coming to games later, whether that means staying longer at home or staying locally. A few weeks ago we launched our third shirt and we think we have three strong shirts this season and yet that doesn’t correlate with sales.’
Fuel prices are driving up operating costs for clubs and the findings of a survey by the Fair Game campaign group, published earlier this week, showed that some were willing to consider moving weekend tee times forward to save on the cost of spotlights.
‘I don’t see the benefit,’ said Scully, although League One clubs such as Lincoln expect a 200 per cent increase in the cost of floodlights, from around £200 to £600 per game. “There is no compelling economic sense and shifting the kick-off by a few hours to an hour, and it makes it harder for fans, with a domino with hotels and travel costs.
Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell revealed energy bills are expected to double in cost
“As always in football you have a domino effect if you move one piece.”
Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell told Sportsmail that the money saved by pushing weekend show times forward would likely be offset by the higher cost of renting hotels for more overnight stays at away games.
At Shrewsbury they expect annual energy bills to rise from £80,000 to £100,000 last season to £160,000 to £200,000 this season.
That would be catastrophic in League One and Two, where match day revenue could represent 40-50 percent of revenue. Clubs go from one crisis to another on their knees.’
The Premier League and Championship will pause for the World Cup, but Leagues One and Two will continue, competing directly with live broadcast football from Qatar and with the ability to stream their own games due to the temporary suspension of UEFA Article 48, the broadcasts Black Out.
“I don’t see any advantage to L1 and L2 in a winter World Cup,” said Scully. “It shows the power in the hands of so few.”
The 72 EFL clubs will discuss such matters at their meeting on Thursday.