Nothing like a good drug scandal to increase the box office, or at least, so it would seem as the Essendon Bombers, after suffering a revenue drought following the Essendon 34 saga that was dragged out for four years, returned to the finals in 2017 and turned a tidy $5.1 million profit.

Membership was up, sponsorships returned and revenues from ticket sales all showed healthy increases.

The Bombers took in over $65 million from all sources, almost $12 million more than in the top-up season of 2016, when they bled almost $10 million.

The club has concluded all its financial transactions and compensation settlements to all former and present players as of September of 2017. The also pared their outstanding debt by over $2 million.

“To record a profit of $5.1 million dollars this financial year is significant for everyone involved in our Club,” Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell said.“Our exciting brand of football helped us achieve record membership of 67,768, increased match receipts with more than 1 million people attending Essendon games, and an increase in financial investment from our corporate partners and sponsors.On and off the field, the competition is more ruthless and competitive than ever, and we know we have to keep working harder and smarter and invest in the right areas of our club.“We will increase investment in our men’s and women’s football programs, community programs, Next Generation Academy zones and our people to ensure we make further progress toward our long term strategic objectives.In 2018 we will finalise plans for the new extension of our training facility at Melbourne Airport, to ensure state of the art resources for our football teams, and a venue our members and supporters will continue to be proud of.This season provides our teams, members and supporters with another exciting opportunity, and as a club we have never been more unified or as strong to rise to the challenge which awaits.”

The Bombers last won a premiership in 2000 and they are ranked seventh as far as the 2018 premiership markets are concerned.