Cardiff Devils are moving in the right direction and aim to break even next season after losing almost £200,000 over the past two years, their management has said.
The ice hockey club’s accounts show that for the year to February 28, it lost £44,657, compared with a £149,904 loss in the previous year.
Turnover increased 37% to £556,989, thanks largely to a new ticket pricing structure, while administrative costs dropped 6% to £202,693.
The amount owed to creditors within one year increased from £194,649 to £253,057.
Devils owner Paul Ragan said: “I am very satisfied with the financial performance this year. Obviously, we still made a loss, but you have to look at the scale it was when I took over three years ago.”
Mr Ragan, who appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, said the club was in a “bankrupt state” and suffering losses of about £400,000, but was now close to breaking even.
“It’s certainly not job done and you have to keep building momentum. We have reinforced our staff to keep that momentum going forward,” Mr Ragan said.
“I want to say a big thank you to the fans and the sponsors. They placed faith in mine and the club’s vision of where we are going.
“The squad for the coming season is looking extremely strong and is the best in my three years here.”
As well as turning a profit, he wants the Devils to start winning silverware again. A big focus has been on developing the club’s junior academy to provide strength in depth.
The 2013-14 season will be the Devils’ last at the temporary ice rink, known to fans as the “big blue tent”. Construction of a £16m dual-pad ice arena on neighbouring land at Cardiff Bay’s International Sports Village is due to start in the late summer.
It’s expected the 3,000-seat arena will open in December next year, meaning the Devils will switch to their new home midway through the 2014-15 season.
Mr Ragan expects that fans who used to pack out the Wales National Ice Rink, demolished in 2006 to make way for the John Lewis store, will return to the sport.
“As long as I own it, we will not be in financial turmoil again. The arena gives the club the opportunity to entice more people and more sponsors by providing a better service,” he said.
Devils managing director Brent Pope added: “What the new arena does is it legitimises us.
“What it does for the South Wales business community is to have them realise that we’re actually going to be here, we’re going to be sustainable and the sport of ice hockey is going to have an opportunity to grow.”