Melbourne's horror 2019 AFL season has been reflected in the club's financial result, with the Demons reporting an operating loss of $1,580,419 for the year ending 31 October.
After reaching a preliminary final in 2018, which contributed to a record membership of 52,516, the Demons dropped off sharply in 2019, winning just five games and finishing 17th.
The AFL club attributed some of the loss to poor home attendances, saying gate receipts were impacted by on-field performance, especially in the back half of the year, while the loss of home gate takings for Anzac Day eve (against Richmond) and Queens Birthday (against Collingwood) had also contributed to the figure.
Melbourne's home crowd average in 2019 was 28,968, compared to 40,695 in 2018.
The Demons also cited the loss of $901,000 income stream from gaming - due to the 2018 sale of the Leighoak venue - as a contributing factor.
The club said the financial loss would be covered by existing cash reserves and therefore would not be added to their current debt, which now sits at $2m after $628,000 was paid off during the year.
"There's no doubt that announcing a loss of over $1.5m is a bitterly disappointing financial result, and a reflection of a club which finished 17th on the ladder," chief executive Gary Pert said.
"It's important to reiterate to members our strong balance sheet has allowed us to fully cover the revenue shortfall with our cash reserves and pay down our debt, which now sits at two million dollars.
"A significant amount of changes have been made in the off season to ensure we give ourselves every chance to bounce back both on and off the field, and I hope Melbourne supporters are quietly excited about the possibilities in 2020."
Australian Associated Press