Rovers’ reliance on the funding of owners Venky’s was further highlighted by low streaming sales as games continue to be played behind closed doors.

Match pass sales for individual games have been as low as 1,200 this season, though that figure is not inclusive of the 2,500 season tickets sold which banked the club around £700,000.

The club pockets around £8 from each £10 match pass sold, for both home and away fixtures, with sales having peaked at 2,200.

Those figures are for the number of passes bought, rather than people watching, with that set to be substantially more based upon multiple people from the same household watching the same stream, but also matches being watched illegally, something the EFL are looking to clamp down on. 

That has meant Rovers have been more reliant than ever on the owners making up some of the shortfall, with ticketing revenue previously accounting for between 20 and 25 per cent of the club’s revenue.

“We’ve had accelerated payments from the league on different solidarity payments, but the flip-side of that is that we’ve been testing which has cost a couple of hundred thousand pounds that we pay back on a monthly payment plan back to the league,” CEO Steve Waggott told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“We’re generating anywhere between 1,200 and I think we peaked at 2,200 for our iFollow match passes which is £10 a match, inclusive of VAT, which is generating some cash.

“Our retail is doing okay on a click and collect basis. We were working on a plan to re-open the Roverstore until we went into the second lockdown.

“Ticketing wise, apart from the 2,500 thousand season ticket holders who I thank them greatly for, which generated £700,000 into the club, it’s been limited revenue.”

As a guide, Bolton Wanderers sold over 2,200 passes for their opening away game at Colchester, while Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt revealed that 2,090 Ipswich Town fans, on top of their 3,634 season ticket holders who redeemed an iFollow code, paid to watch the match between the two sides last month.

Rovers had hoped to be able to welcome fans back to Ewood Park to watch matches, albeit it from hospitality suites, until East Lancashire was placed into tier three.

Waggott added: “We can’t open up the non-matchday facilities, we were on the cusp of opening up the lounges to broadcast home and away games, which sounds a bit surreal to broadcast a home game while the team are on the pitch and you close the blinds and people can go in the lounges but can’t sit inside the stadium.

“We were on the cusp of doing that in tier two, but then we went into tier three so that put the kibosh on that one.

“There's not a lot coming in and putting the games on behind closed doors is increasing hard losses as well. We still have the basic requirements to fulfil the safety certificate of the ground.”

Despite the hope of becoming more self-sufficient, Rovers continue to work to a benefactor model, something Waggott says in the current climate would only change were there a salary cap introduced, a change in the broadcasting contracts, or promotion back to the Premier League.

“The only way we could get really close to it is the squad salary cap comes into place, and that’s another long discussion, it’s mooted about £18m for the Championship, League One and League Two have applied one this season, then a reset of the broadcasting plan,” he said.

“If you looked at the Project Big Picture it was potentially 25 per cent of the broadcasting revenue coming to the EFL, that will probably double, perhaps a little bit more, than our current deal of about £8m. You could maybe get to £16m of revenue from broadcasting. If you had a squad salary cap of £18m then that all of a sudden that could bring the model into a more sustainable one.”

However, Rovers aren’t alone in the requirement of funding from owners to see them through the pandemic as they wait on news of a Championship wide bail-out.

Second tier clubs made losses close to £700m in 2018/19, and those figures will only continue to grow given the current climate, and the disparity of wealth between Premier League and Championship clubs.

“I’m a director of the club in the UK, with Mike Cheston, the finance director, along with Gandhi Babu in India, and that’s the last phonecall anyone wants from an owner to say ‘I’m tired, I’m giving in’, because we haven’t got the commercial clout to survive on our own in the way we operate the club,” Waggott said.

“It’s not only Blackburn Rovers, you’ve seen the figures from the Football League on the debt and loans incurred by Championship clubs because of the prize at the end of the rainbow, should you get up, is eye-watering.

“I know the owners were very supportive as well before my time, and the vibes I get are that they will be supportive in the future and we’ll keep pushing on and progressing with Tony, his backroom staff and with the current set-up we’ve got.

“But we’re a results industry and we have to keep those coming in because they’re not happy when we lose matches.

“They have a put a lot of money into the club and continue to do so.

“They’ll be waiting for us to get back in to the Premier League at some stage but there’s no guarantees of that with the competitive level in the Championship.”