West Brom won’t be hit particularly hard by a full season without matchday income — but the absence of fans is damaging Lai Guochuan’s chances of selling the club.
That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after the government announced that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed back into stadiums for the final matchday of the season.
Relegation strugglers West Brom are away to Leeds on the final day and so will have gone an entire Premier League season with zero matchday income.
Albion majority shareholder Lai Guochuan wants to sell the club but is yet to find a buyer willing to meet his £200million valuation.
Maguire suggests that West Brom do not rely particularly heavily on matchday income but that the absence of fans could impact the club’s chances of a takeover.
“West Brom get relatively little money from matchday when they’re in the Premier League,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“It’s probably worth £1 in every £20. So it’s not that significant an income stream for them.
“Having said that, if you’re getting on average £7m a year from matchday income, the average player works out at on average £2m, so it’s paying for three-and-a-half players in your squad. In that sense, it will have an impact on the finances overall.
“And if you’re trying to sell the club, which there is a lot of talk about at the moment, if I’m marketing the club at a prospective buyer, it’s a lot easier to market it when you’ve got 25,000 people going ‘boing, boing.’ You say to the buyer: ‘This could be yours.’
“With an empty stadium, you’re trying to sell someone a glorified training exercise, in effect.”
According to data from Transfermrkt, the Baggies’ average attendance has generally not taken a huge hit after relegation from the top-flight.
For example, Albion averaged 24,520 fans in the 17-18 Premier League campaign and 24,148 in the following Championship season.