Chief executive Nigel Clibbens spoke more about the impact on the commercial side of the business as they prepare to begin their activities once again as soon as the situation allows.
“We talked about the fact that our sponsors and partners have been fantastic with us, and I was speaking to the commercial team who told us they’d had a fan on to them who normally sponsors a player,” he told us. “They’ve already got their eye on a player they want to sponsor for this year, and they wanted to see if they could do it now.
“That package would normally include coming down to meet the player and coming along to the team photo day, and those things are all ruled out at the moment. So, for things like that, we’re looking at how we can do things differently until we can add those normal pieces back into that type of package.”
“Another factor to consider is that we can’t sell executive boxes because we can’t sell tickets,” he added. “Without going over old ground too much, we don’t know how many games we’re going to have that fans can come to, and that impacts on all of it.
“If you’ve got a box that would normally seat ten people, even when fans are allowed back into the stadium, you can’t bring commercial sponsors in who aren’t in the same family bubble. If you then start saying you’ve got to be two metres apart in those boxes, you can’t get many people in.
“They may be ideal for families who are in the same bubble, so it could open new opportunities for us. It may be that we can sell boxes to families game-by-game because they don’t need to socially distance, but it makes it difficult to sell to a sponsor because they can’t entertain clients like they usually would.”
“As for selling these packages, whatever the package itself may look like, I think all of these things will happen in a rush once we get confirmed dates for different things,” he commented. “I’ve said it a couple of times, but it was important to get 19/20 resolved before we could start looking at 20/21 issues.
“The longer the decision took to finish the season, the more the 20/21 issues got pushed back. We spent a lot of time talking about potentially finishing last year, which meant we couldn’t really talk about what we were going to do with the new season.”
So in terms of the EFL loan facility of £120,000, was it this area of the business which was covered by that influx of cash?
“The EFL took the view early on that their immediate priority was to keep all of the clubs alive and make sure they were paying their bills and their players,” he said. “That loan came in early March, which gave everybody a boost, and it gave us an extra cushion at that time.
“We’ll pay that back over two years in two instalments per year, so unless something changes there will be a payment to be made on that in October.
“We took the VAT deferral that was offered, and when it became clear that this thing wasn’t going away, we’ve also taken some PAYE deferrals for a couple of months. They’ll all be settled by the end of October. These are examples of support that were put in place to be used, but they’re temporary. That support has been welcome by us and it’s all under control.”
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