The current lockdown caught Rapid at a particularly bad time. Ironically, two of the most lucrative home games of the year, the one in the Europa League on Thursday against West Ham and the one against Austria on December 5, will be played without spectators. The hope that the lockdown will end after ten days and then fans will be allowed in the derby is only in theory, said business manager Christoph Peschek.
“It is not out of the question, but it is very unlikely.” Peschek estimates the loss of revenue through a derby behind closed gates at a high six-figure sum, the lockout against West Ham is even more important.
The game would have been sold out with 23,500 visitors and would have been the most profitable since the Europa League sixteenth-finals against Inter Milan in February 2020. Since this Europa League match is not included in the season subscription, it brings higher additional income than a well-attended league game. But as it is, Rapid will lose a turnover of one million euros.
It is bitter that you have to play these “highlight games” without an audience. “We play football for our fans,” said Peschek and saw “emotional and economic damage” for his club. At least the latter should be cushioned by public support, and there have already been corresponding announcements on the part of politicians.
However, Rapid’s fight against Corona has also left its mark – for example in its own annual report, which shows significantly increased liabilities totaling 32.7 million euros. “When the pandemic broke out, when government support was not yet secure, we took measures to ensure liquidity,” Peschek said. The amounts are “taken into account in the financial planning and will be repaid”.
The annual report also showed an increase of 700,000 euros for the 2020/21 season – probably too little to make big leaps in the winter transition period. Peschek announced that they would act “situation-elastic” on the transfer market and “be prepared for all scenarios”. The Hütteldorfer economic manager was also waiting in connection with the search for a new trainer. “Quality comes before speed. This is an important personnel decision at Rapid, if not the most important one. ”