Express & Star

Aston Villa can be one of 'world's biggest' after £50m revenue increase

Business chief Chris Heck reckons Villa have the infrastructure to become one of the world’s biggest clubs after boosting revenues by more than £50million last season.

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Heck, responsible for running the club’s off-field operation, believes a large fanbase provides the opportunity to close the gap and says statistics claim the club has 300 million supporters worldwide.

Villa will make at least £50m from competing in this season’s Champions League and have agreed lucrative new kit and sponsorship deals with Adidas and Betano respectively.

Heck has previously outlined plans to double existing revenues over the next three seasons, which will allow the club to more easily comply with the Premier League’s spending rules.

Villa’s most recently published accounts, for the 2022-23 season, reported total revenues of £217m.

Heck revealed that increased by £54m last season thanks to finishing fourth in the Premier League and reaching the Europa Conference League semi-finals, yet they were still forced to sell midfielder Douglas Luiz to Juventus for £42m last month to avoid breaching spending rules.

Speaking to the US podcast Crossing Broad Sports, Heck said: “We can win, we have the infrastructure to be one of the best clubs in the world in one of the best leagues in the world. It doesn’t happen overnight.

"Our owners have had the club for five years and they’ve really been smart and methodical about how this has been built up, and that’s pretty exciting. We’re in the Champions League for the first time in 42 years. It’s awesome."

"We have an incredible manager (Unai Emery). He’s a top five, top three manager in the world. We locked him in. He made that big a difference.

“We generated almost £54m of incremental revenue this past year. That’s off of a £200m pound business. The plan is to be £400m to £450m in three more years.

"Now all of a sudden you’re competing against Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, but also Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich. You’re in that space. We overachieved, but we also capitalised on it, and you have to do it for several years to catch up.”

While most supporters accept the need for the club to raise revenues, the considerable increase in ticket prices over recent years has frustrated many.

Though adult season ticket prices were capped at a five per cent rise this season, the cost of individual match tickets has soared with the club charging more than £70 to sit in some areas of Villa Park for category A fixtures.

Villa last year halted plans to demolish and rebuild the North Stand and are instead looking to add more seats by reconfiguring the current stadium plan.

Heck said: "We’re one of the good clubs in the sense that we have the ability to catch up because we’re in a big market with a big fanbase. There’s statistics out there saying we have 300 million fans. It’s crazy. How do you actually capitalise on that?

"We plan on bringing in another £50m plus in incremental revenue (next year). We will bring in a lot of money for the Champions League and we are celebrating our 150th year anniversary. We have doubled the size of our staff, we are doing massive improvements at Villa Park, but trying to keep the nostalgia and the character of the facility.

"There is just so much work to do but it’s a really fun time to do it.”