Leeds Rhinos still the most profitable club in Super League despite '˜challenging year' last season

Leeds Rhinos remain the most profitable club in Super League '“ despite last season's hugely disappointing campaign.

Wednesday, 9th August 2017, 1:22 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:13 pm
Demolition work is due to start this month on Leeds Rhinos' 'famous South Stand'. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company Limited – the owners of Leeds Rhinos – have published their annual accounts for the 2016 season, with the club once again making a six-figure profit in the face of what turned out to be a challenging year on and off the pitch.

The previous season, 2015, had been a record-breaking year for the Rhinos. It was almost-inevitably going to be a ‘tough ask’ to replicate that treble success in the following twelve months.

Indeed, the combination of losing influential players to retirement, long-term injuries to many players and the loss of the use of the training ground and facilities for a long period due to flooding proved sizeable hurdles to overcome.

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Leeds Rhinos chief executive, Gary Hetherington. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The facility, which was fully insured, was re-opened in July 2016 after undergoing extensive works.

The risk of a repeat of the flooding will always be a threat, acknowledges the club, but there are plans to seek a solution to enhance the defences and create a flood plain nearby.

Despite all this adversity, the accounts show that it was the sixth consecutive season the club has made a profit and the 13th time in 15 years.

Operationally, turnover in 2016 fell by 13.47 per cent, in the main due to the absence of significant prize money and the level of retail sales enjoyed in the previous successful year.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive, Gary Hetherington. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The accounts confirm that gate receipts were behind on budget figures with Super League gate receipts down by four per cent.

Corporate sales enjoyed another good year, however, and the World Club Challenge generated a ‘one off’ source of income similar to the international friendly against New Zealand the previous year.

The other revenue streams were generally on budget and the overheads were maintained at budgeted levels. Given the adverse circumstances faced by the club this year, the directors are reportedly pleased that ‘control was maintained where possible’ and all staff ‘rallied to the cause’ which resulted in a profit before tax of £371,381.

In addition to the published accounts, the club also confirmed that the major stadium re-development will soon be underway.

The South Stand on the rugby side and the North Stand overlooking both the rugby and cricket sides of the stadium will be replaced.

The cost will be covered by both internal and external funding and South Stand demolition works are now planned to start in August soon to be followed by the demolition of the North Stand.

Chief executive, Gary Hetherington, said: “It is a good result in difficult circumstances and the surplus will again be invested into our people and facilities.”