EFL clubs are fearing a ‘catastrophic’ winter with soaring energy costs and World Cup football on TV

Clubs in League One and Two fear a 'catastrophic' winter in store with soaring energy costs


EFL clubs are fearing a ‘catastrophic’ winter with soaring energy costs and World Cup football on TV as they face yet another crisis after barely surviving the Covid-19 pandemic… as Shrewsbury Town CEO reveals bills are set to DOUBLE

  • League One and League Two clubs face a tough winter with soaring energy costs
  • Power bills at Shrewsbury are projected to increase from £100,000 to £200,000
  • The club lost an estimated £2.5million in the two-and-a-half years during Covid
  • CEO Brian Caldwell suspects the idea of midday kick-offs is not the solution 

Worrying trends are already taking shape as clubs in League One and League Two brace for the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy prices and prepare to plough on through the World Cup.

There is growing alarm in the lower reaches of the English football pyramid as these challenging factors converge to threaten income streams so soon after the devastating impact of the Covid lockdowns.

Attendances have held up well in the EFL at the start of this season, although clubs such as Lincoln City have detected signs of a downturn in additional match-day spending on things like food, merchandising and 50/50 prize draw tickets.

Clubs in League One and Two fear a 'catastrophic' winter in store with soaring energy costs

Clubs in League One and Two fear a ‘catastrophic’ winter in store with soaring energy costs

There is also fears that the 2022 World Cup being on TV everyday could affect club's crowds

There is also fears that the 2022 World Cup being on TV everyday could affect club’s crowds

‘The trend we’re seeing is that broadly fans still want to watch and support the team,’ Lincoln CEO Liam Scully told Sportsmail. ‘But as money is squeezed they are looking to spend more carefully on things like 50/50 tickets and food at the games.

‘Anecdotally, fans seem to be coming into games later, whether that means staying at home for longer or locally. We launched our third shirt a few weeks ago and we think we have three strong shirts this season and yet that doesn’t correlate into sales.’

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Fuel prices mean running costs are soaring for clubs and the findings of a survey by the Fair Game campaign group, released earlier this week, found that some were prepared to consider moving kick-off times forward at weekends to save on floodlighting costs.

‘I can’t see the benefit,’ said Scully, even though League One clubs like Lincoln anticipate a 200 per cent increase in the cost of floodlighting, up from about £200 to £600 per game. ‘There’s no compelling economic sense and moving the kick-off forward by a couple of hours to one o’clock, and it makes it harder for fans, with a knock-on with hotels and travel costs.

Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell revealed the power bills look set to double in cost

Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell revealed the power bills look set to double in cost

‘As ever, in football when you shift one piece there is a knock-on effect.’

Shrewsbury Town CEO Brian Caldwell told Sportsmail that money saved by moving the kick-off times forward at weekends was likely to be off-set by the increased costs of hiring hotels for more overnight stays at away games.

At Shrewsbury, they expect annual energy bills to increase from £80,000-£100,000 last season to £160,000-£200,000 this season.

‘That would be catastrophic in Leagues One and Two where match-day income can represent 40-50 per cent of turnover. Clubs are on their knees, going from one crisis to another.’

The Premier League and the Championship will pause for the World Cup but Leagues One and Two will carry on, competing directly with live televised football from Qatar and with the opportunity to stream their own games because of the temporary suspension of UEFA’s Article 48, the broadcasting black-out.

‘I can’t see any benefit for L1 and L2 in a winter World Cup,’ said Scully. ‘It shows the power in the hands of so few.’

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The 72 EFL clubs will discuss such matters when they meet on Thursday.

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