AFL club St Kilda have reduced their debt by almost $4.3 million in the face of ongoing COVID-19 financial pressure but remain more than $9.5 million in the red.
The Saints on Friday revealed their financial result for the year ended October 31, posting an operating profit of $3.6 million.
CEO Matt Finnis put the result down to the club's membership growth, an increase in commercial revenue, cost reductions and generous donor support.
"While the pressures and hardships of COVID-19 continued to be felt in 2021, our focus remained on executing our rebound strategy to emerge in a stronger position than when we first entered it," Finnis said.
"The continued loyalty of our members throughout yet another challenging year of lockdowns and limited game access has been a key driving force behind our debt reduction and positive financial outcomes.
"We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing faith shown by not only our members, but our commercial partners for their support, as well as our coterie groups and Foundation supporters, who continue to generously invest in our future."
St Kilda will open the Danny Frawley Centre for health and wellbeing in February as part of the ongoing development at their traditional Moorabbin base, where they hope to host an official AFL pre-season fixture next year.
The net assets of the club increased to $29 million this year - up from $16.2 million in 2021 - largely due to the infrastructure works progressing at RSEA Park.
"The development of the Danny Frawley Centre will be a key driver of the future sustainability of St Kilda and will help connect the community via integrated physical and mental health facilities and programs," Finnis said.
"I have full confidence that its impact on the community, St Kilda people and past players will be immediate, and we look forward to opening the doors of the centre in early 2022.
"We are hopeful for a less disrupted year in 2022 and cannot wait to reconnect with our loyal members and partners back at our homes of RSEA Park and Marvel Stadium."
St Kilda missed the finals in 2021 as Melbourne's premiership left the Saints carrying the burden of the competition's longest flag drought.
It dates back to 1966, when the Saints won their only AFL/VFL premiership to date.
St Kilda are hopeful of further membership growth next year, after recording a 14 per cent increase to 55,832 members in 2021.
Australian Associated Press