The 2013-14 season was not a wildly successful one for Aston Villa on the pitch, but the financial books tell a much different story. After posting losses of £51.8 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year, the club cut those numbers by 92% to a mere £3.9 million for the year ending on May 31, 2014.
The single biggest contributing factor in the club's march towards financial sustainability was the increased Premier League broadcasting revenues. That amount included the £52.2 million allotted to every Premier League club last season as their equal share of the TV money. After the rights, the next biggest contributing factor to the clubs increased turnover was growth in sponsorship and commercial revenue.
In addition, Aston Villa reduced operating expenses by nearly 10%, from £134.6 million to £121.7 million. That likely came from wage reductions as Paul Lambert continued his work of cutting the fat left even years after Martin O'Neill resigned before the 2010-11 season.
The news is definitely a good sign, and will certainly make the club more appealing to potential buyers. I would expect to see the 2014-15 report looking even better, and perhaps even operating at a net gain since the club have been run on a shoestring budget this year.
Looking even further ahead, if Aston Villa can manage to stay in the Premier League for two more seasons (or drop this year and come back next), they stand to see even larger gains thanks to the ridiculous new TV contract. I don't have exact numbers on what the even split will be, but given that the new deal represents a more than 70% increase over the current one it wouldn't be surprising to see every club guaranteed somewhere in the realm of £80-85 million.
The improved financial outlook of the club, along with the incredible future, makes staying up this season even more imperative. Now is the time for the club to be sold, and despite rumours of a Phoenix Group deal today, no one will likely want a part of Aston Villa until they've secured their position in the world's richest league. Stay up and they're suddenly one of the best deals in world sport. Drop, and we're an outsider looking in trying to compete with teams who will have even more years of that sweet sweet money.