Parramatta have posted a net loss of just under $4 million for the 2018 financial year but chief executive Bernie Gurr believes a break-even year for the Eels is within reach in the near future.
The club's annual report, obtained by the Herald, reveals a loss of $3.93 million for the year, an improvement upon the $10.1 million loss suffered in 2017.
New home: The Eels have built their strategy around new home ground Bankwest Stadium.Credit:James Brickwood
There are two pillars upon which the reduction in deficit has been built.
The first is a $4.12 million increase in NRL funding – a boost each club has received due to the new, $1.8 billion television broadcast rights deal.
The second is an increase in sponsorships and hospitality income of just under $1.75 million.
"We’re pleased. I’ve been here two years now and we’ve wanted to do two things," Gurr told the Herald. "Number one was our corporate governance reform. We’ve put in five new, independent directors and that was overseen by Max Donnelly.
"Number two was getting financially stable. We lost $12 million in ’16, we got that down to $10 million last year, we’ve got that down to $4 million this year.
"We need to set a strong platform for our business going forward and I think we have done that now. We are now in a position where we can be strategic and we will move forward on that basis."
The move to Bankwest Stadium from ANZ Stadium is a large part of Parramatta's strategic plan.
The Eels are yet to play a game at the new stadium – which will be christened on Easter Monday when they face the Tigers – but it's understood corporate hospitality sales are already twice that of the sales at ANZ Stadium last year.
"What Bankwest Stadium does for us is give us an opportunity on two fronts," Gurr said.
"Number one is financially. We have the ability to generate a lot more money out of Bankwest than we did out of our previous arrangement at ANZ Stadium. That’s a good financial platform there for us.
"Secondly, it’s just a broader, more professional presentation for our club. It will recalibrate how people view club rugby league."
Gurr is of the belief that Bankwest will be the catalyst for the club as it strives for break-even status. Presently, the football club's losses are covered by Parramatta Leagues Club.
While corporate hospitality will help drive that push to shave another $4 million from their bottom line, membership revenue is also expected to rise.
"We’re looking for additional revenue across all our business," Gurr said. "We think we can improve our membership, through Bankwest Stadium, for our members and fans.
"Part of our fundamental mantra is to provide a terrific game-day experience for our members, who are the lifeblood of our club.
"The goal of the club is to break even. That takes all the pressure off our leagues club.
"It ensures the business is being run as it should. A business should pay its way. Our ultimate goal is to break even and we probably won’t achieve that in ’19 but Bankwest Stadium will help us get closer to that goal soon."
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