It is a bit early to call Ann Budge’s early move to cut all Hearts’ staff wages by 50%. The accompanying offer of termination, which could be accepted by many in the first team squad, indicates what Hearts anticipate the value of footballer contracts will settle at when the crisis is over.
The economic basis that current football contracts were established on no longer applies. Footballers are worth less money today and going forward than they were a month ago. Clubs have less money, fans have less money to spend and advertisers have less money to give to TV companies. Practically every non-discretionary asset class in the world is worth less than before.
I suspect Ann Budge knows this. She also knows that whether Hearts are relegated or not, they will be better off investing what money they have in the football player market of the future, than keeping what they have.
We have not had a chance to discuss the Adidas deal in any detail yet. Getting it over the line before the crisis added at least £10m to the value. If there is a general retail shutdown over the summer, the Adidas contract could be worth £20m less than we got for it. The importance of this deal grows in tandem with the crisis – and it was stunning to begin with. Thankfully we have professionals running our commercials.
We’ll talk soon about the consequences and, just as importantly, opportunities in the game going forward. Celtic are in a good place.