Liverpool Posts First Profit in Seven Years as Title Chase Pays

Liverpool has made its first annual profit in seven years as the English soccer team came close to a Premier League title last season.

The Reds, an 18-time English champion, had net income of 900,000 pounds ($1.4 million) for the 12 months ended last May, according to details announced by the club. Liverpool was on the brink of bankruptcy when a group led by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry took control in 2010 following a forced sale by lenders. Last year Liverpool announced an annual 49.8 million-pound loss for 2013, and lost almost as much the year before.

“We continue to make good financial progress,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Ayre said in a statement. “Although these results are nearly 12 months old, they demonstrate that the transitional period we’ve been through over the past four years have stabilized the club and provided a platform for growth.”

This season Liverpool returned to Europe’s elite Champions League for the first time in five years. Poor performances in the group stage meant the team was eliminated with just one win.

The team’s performance has improved, with it winning 2-1 at home yesterday over defending champion Manchester City. City leapfrogged Liverpool with three games to go last season as the Reds tried to end a more than two-decade wait for the title. The team has the best record in the league so far this calendar year.

Broadcast Funds

The success of the Premier League’s television contracts helped boost revenue by 19 percent to 255.6 million pounds, with media income up 46 percent to 100.9 million pounds. That figure will rise again following the league’s new broadcast contract, which will share 5.14 billion pounds between the 20 teams from August 2016, an increase of 71 percent.

The league’s richest team, Manchester United, had revenues of 433.2 million pounds in 2014, 70 percent more than Liverpool.

Liverpool won the last of its five European cups in 2005, and has regularly been bettered on the field by the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and billionaire-funded Chelsea and City in recent years.

Still, it remains among soccer’s most-popular teams thanks to a period of dominance in the 1970s and 1980s. Commercial sales grew 5 percent to 103.8 million pounds while in February Liverpool announced a “record” uniform supply agreement with Boston-based New Balance.

Henry took over as the team’s former U.S. owners couldn’t agree to an extension to repay 237 million pounds owed to lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland. Net debt rose to 57.3 million pounds in the past year. Liverpool has started construction to increase its stadium, after the owners decided against moving from the 45,000-seat Anfield. The club had spent nearly 40 million pounds on a new stadium project that was scrapped.

“With a hugely supportive ownership, we have brought financial stability back to this football club and we now have the right structure, platform and ambition to continue growing on and off the pitch,” Ayre said.

Last week European soccer’s governing body UEFA announced Liverpool wouldn’t face sanctions after investigating the Reds for a possible breach of fiscal regulations that limit the amount teams can lose.

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