Bet365 Group, the owner of Championship side Stoke City FC, has announced that it is reducing the debts of the club’s holding company by £160million.
In looking to underline the owner’s continuing long-term commitment to the club and its funding, the firm converted £40million of shareholder loans into equity in Stoke City Holdings Limited and have also waived £120million of shareholder loans.
Joint Chairman of Stoke City, John Coates, commented: “Converting £40m of loans into equity and waiving £120m of loans greatly strengthens the club’s balance sheet and also provides more long-term stability for the club.
“On the field, the last four or five years have not proved to be as successful as any of us would have hoped. However, our commitment to the club, its future success, financial sustainability and place at the heart of our local community remains as strong and focussed as ever.”
The debt reduction follows the Potters’ recent announcement that a £20m five-year redevelopment programme at the bet365 Stadium and Clayton Wood training ground is being introduced this summer.
It has been reported that over £4million will be invested in facilities ahead of the 2022/23 season, which also includes the installation of 8,400 seats.
Other work which will be carried out this summer involves a refurbishing Delilah’s Bar into a sports bar, new toilet facilities in the stands, a transformation of the Players’ and Stanley Matthews Lounges and installation of a synthetic, all-weather pitch at Clayton Wood to be used by first-team, Academy line-ups and women’s side.
Formally the Britannia stadium, the name of the Stoke City ground was changed to the Bet365 Stadium in June 2016, whilst work began on expanding the stadium to over 30,000 in February 2017. Prior to this, the Potters moved from the Victoria Ground to the current Stadium in 1997.
Earlier this month, bet365 reported that it experienced a ‘bounceback’ from COVID-19, with the company stating that profits remain high despite the amount wagered on sports across its platform falling last year. Issuing its financial statement covering the 12 month period ending on 28 March 2021, the operator revealed that the amount wagered on sport on the bet365 website fell by 13%.
Despite this decline, the number of active site customers grew by 13%, and the operator asserted that the stake decrease has been offset by a year-on-year margin increase.