SUNDERLAND made an operating loss of £9m in their first season back in the Championship, despite reaching the play-offs the play-offs.

The club have released their accounts for the 2022/23 campaign - when they lost to Luton in the play-off semi-finals - and although Sunderland brought in more than £35m, up on the £26m turnover in the League One promotion winning season, operating losses grew from £5m to £9m.

Television and media revenue increased significantly for the Black Cats last season, rising from £3m to north of £10m, with gate receipts also increasing by more than £1m. A slight increase in sponsorship and retail also contributed to the rise in turnover.

However, that was offset by a significant rise in costs and expenses that came with promotion to the second tier.

Sunderland's wage bill rose from £14.5m to £22.9m, with the total number of staff on the club's books increasing from 189 to 229.

In total, the club's operating expenses increased from £30.3m in 2022 to £41m the following year.

The club made £308,000 on player sales, but that doesn't include the exit of Ross Stewart. That departure will be included in next year's accounts.


The account's accompanying notes, signed off by chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, stressed the desire of Sunderland's hierarchy to help the Black Cats win promotion to the Premier League.

The accounts state: "The club continued to invest in a strong core of talented players and we believe this will provide the foundations for continued progression throughout the upcoming seasons that will culminate in our ultimate objective of returning to the PL.

"At the start of the 2023/24 season, only one first team player remains following the first game following Kyril Louis-Dreyfus' acquisition of the club, which represents a significant transformation and underlines substantial progress made during a short space of time.

"KLD has led the club embarking on a strategy to create a sustainable business that aims to return to the PL. It is recognised that this requires a long-term outlook and all decisions are aimed at enabling the club to maximise on the field performance through improving the contribution from commercial activities."

The notes continued: "We continue to strive to secure promotion to the PL and as a club that aims to be financially sustainable, this will be built on continued investment in the club to improve overall commercial performance.

"In future seasons, we are aiming to increase the contribution from commercial activities to allow greater investment in on-field playing success."

The accounts also point to the average age of the squad last season - 23.5 - which they say is "consistent with our strategy to invest in and develop young talent in a first team environment."

Sunderland sold more than 32,000 season tickets last season, a figure which rose to 35,000 - an all-time high - for the current campaign.

But this season has been a disappointment on the pitch, with the Black Cats languishing in 15th ahead of the final day game against Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.