Essendon have posted a strong financial result for 2021, recording a statutory profit of $8.2 million and becoming bank-debt free again.
The Bombers’ profit for this year is made up of $1.2 million generated from operations, and $7 million derived from grants and donations which were used to expand their Hangar facility in Tullamarine.
In time for Essendon’s 150-year celebrations next season, The Hangar now boasts dormitory accommodation for Australia’s para-athletes, members of Essendon’s next generation academy and associated community leagues, as well as new reception, cafe and retail areas, a sports museum and dedicated women’s football facilities. The Bombers are set to enter the AFLW in the 2022-23 season.
Essendon’s underlying cash profit from operations this year was $5 million.
Club CEO Xavier Campbell attributed the “strong outcome” after two COVID-impacted years to the Bombers’ “loyal member base”.
“This year, we experienced the largest aggregate growth in membership of any club in the AFL, reaching a total of 81,998, in what was truly a whole-of-club effort,” he said.
“I take this opportunity to again extend our sincere gratitude to our loyal members and fans who have been nothing but unwavering in their support for the club, particularly in trying circumstances over the past two years.
“We also wish to acknowledge those who have helped us get to this position including our staff who work tirelessly, our valued corporate and commercial partners, sponsors and other key stakeholders.
“We are well-positioned to grow further in the coming years and continue to strengthen the club’s financial position as we look towards significant investment into the master vision of Windy Hill and enhancement of our business and freehold assets there, as well as maximising the commercial opportunities at the Tullamarine precinct.
“Pleasingly, throughout the two impacted years of the pandemic, we were able to not only protect, but improve our commercial position.”
The Bombers defied pre-season expectations in 2021 to make a surprise finals appearance under rookie coach Ben Rutten after widely being tipped to be a bottom-four side.
However, they head into next season still aiming to break their 18-year stretch without a finals victory after the Bulldogs disposed of them in their elimination final in Tasmania.