Big leap in Adelaide Oval running costs

Adelaide Oval management says its business model is “working as intended” but it faces rising costs, including a $25 million increase in expenses to run the famous ground.

Jul 02, 2024, updated Jul 02, 2024
Adelaide Oval. Photo: Morgan Sette/AAP

Adelaide Oval. Photo: Morgan Sette/AAP

Adelaide Oval recorded a loss of $4.1 million from trading activities in the 12 months to October 2023, but its total trading result improved to a $1.013 million profit after contributions from the SANFL and SACA.

The oval’s trading income reached $98.1 million in 2022/23 – exceeding pre-COVID levels and improving $27.3 million on the year before, according to an Auditor-General report tabled in parliament on Thursday.

The increased revenue was in part due to a $11.5 million increase in beverage sales and an $8.5 million increase in food sales.

But the revenue improvement was offset by a $25.6 million increase in expenses, including $8.9 million extra on supplies and services and $8 million extra on employee benefits.

The Auditor-General report said the increased employee costs reflected “increases in casual wages to cover more shifts as patronage and number of events increased at the oval”.

It also said an increase in major events led to a $1.6 million increase in utility costs “as LED lights were used for more sporting events and concerts”, while $1.4 million extra was spent on stadium management costs “such as cleaning and security due to increased patronage”.

During the reporting period, Adelaide Oval hosted seven T20 World Cup cricket games and six AFL games in the inaugural Gather Round weekend, as well as concerts by Ed Sheeran and a State of Origin rugby league match.

Adelaide Oval hosted the inaugural Gather Round in 2023. Photo: Matt Turner/AAP

That was on top of its weekly commitments to the Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs, a Test between Australia and the West Indies, and a One Day International between Australia and England.

The $4.1 million trading loss ($98.1 million income vs $102.2 million expenses) came before Adelaide Oval received a net contribution of $5.1 million from the SANFL and SACA.

The two sporting bodies, under its agreement with Adelaide Oval’s Stadium Management Authority (AOSMA), provided $15.1 million “to ensure AOSMA had sufficient working capital to support its operations”.

AOSMA then gives back a percentage of its matchday food and beverage sales to the SANFL and SACA. This totalled $10 million in 2022/23, meaning the SANFL and SACA’s net contribution to AOSMA was $5.1 million.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The 2022/23 financial result is the fifth straight year AOSMA has recorded a trading loss excluding contributions from SANFL and the SACA.

But AOSMA said that including contributions from the SANFL and SACA, the oval’s cumulative net trading result since 2017/18 is only a loss of $2.437 million, primarily due to the financial hit it took during the pandemic.

“The Adelaide Oval business model is working as intended and continues to generate solid returns for its shareholders and for the end users of the stadium,” Adelaide Oval CEO Nick Addison said in a statement.

“However, we also face the same headwinds as other businesses in terms of the rising costs of goods, services, wages and utilities.

“That’s why we continue to diversify our business. For example, it’s why we created Oval Hotel and it’s why we started Adelaide Oval Turf Solutions which has just delivered the pitches used in New York for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“We are committed to innovating and bringing new income streams into our business so that we can continue to deliver results for our stakeholders and, more importantly, an Adelaide Oval experience that is as good as it can be and as affordable as possible for our fans and guests.”

The auditor general’s report shows that as of October 31, 2023, the AOSMA still has $40.5 million to pay off the state government’s $42.6 million loan for the construction of the Adelaide Oval Hotel.

The former Marshall Government administered the controversial loan in August 2019 to help AOSMA construct a five-storey hotel outside the oval’s eastern grandstand.

“The loan is receivable in quarterly instalments, with the last instalment receivable on 30 September 2030 to include a final balloon payment,” the report states.

Adelaide Oval’s total assets stood at $122.2 million on October 31, 2023, compared to $100.1 million in liabilities.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.