Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley addresses his players during a break this year. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
COLLINGWOOD has recorded an unprecedented profit of $7.83 million for 2012, making it easily the most profitable club in the competition this year.
While the record result included what the club deemed an extraordinary item of $2.97 million from the AFL, this is money for media rights that all clubs receive. By not counting that one-off payment, the club still reported an astonishing operating profit of $4.86 million.
The Magpies also revealed they had spent $21.167 million on their football department in 2012, an increase of $1.75 million on 2011. Collingwood is consistently among the top two for football department spending.
Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert said the club planned to plough its profits into football - it was budgeting to further increase football spending by between $1 million and $1.5 million in 2013 - and into the development of its administration and training base.
The Collingwood result highlights the gulf between wealthy clubs, such as the Magpies, and the smaller teams such as Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide (which lost more than $2.1 million), with the AFL considering further equalisation measures.
The Demons announced a small profit of $77,000, while the Bulldogs lost $136,000 and Carlton reported a loss of $683,000.
Essendon's operating profit was $401,000, although that did not include the $11.9 million it raised to help fund the construction of its administrative and training centre at Tullamarine.
Hawthorn ($2 million) and Richmond ($3 million) reported large profits.
In a response to calls for a rise in the taxing of gate receipts, Pert said this would not be a solution to the financial problems of clubs. He said a tax on the gate effectively involved taking money from ''only two to three clubs in the competition'' rather than clubs that ''have their own stadium''.
''It would be inappropriate to expect Collingwood supporters to be taxed every week to push their money into opposition clubs,'' Pert said.
Collingwood's recent view, pushed to the AFL, has been that it accepts it will receive less funding from the league than other clubs, but doesn't want to have its revenue removed and redistributed.
Collingwood has net assets of $18.69 million, a vast improvement from four years ago when it was burdened with heavy losses from the Beach Hotel, had a bank debt of about $8 million and write-downs forced it to post a loss of $3.28 million.
Of the football department spending, slightly more than $11 million was on player payments.
The profit was achieved on decreased turnover of $69.6 million, compared with $75 million in 2011.
Pert said the decrease was due to accounting changes. The club had also sold the Beach Hotel and revamped its gaming operations to make them more efficient and profitable, which led to a reduction in non-football revenue.
The club had closely looked at the operations of English soccer giants Arsenal and Liverpool and was now a ''far more sophisticated business''.
The club was proud of what ''the board, the executive and the football department have been able to achieve, especially over the last four or five years,'' Pert said.
He said the club planned to put its profits into both football and the $40 million development of its base at the old Olympic Park.
After Collingwood, the next highest profit in Victoria has been Richmond's $3 million.