Manchester United revenues down nearly 20 per cent given Champions League absence

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Manchester United’s revenues fell by 19.3 per cent in the final three months to December 2019, primarily due to the club’s failure to qualify for the Uefa Champions League.

United’s second-quarter financial results revealed revenues dropped by £40.2m ($52.25m/€48.17m) to £168.4m over the reporting period.

A decrease in broadcast revenues of £39m in the quarter was largely to blame as the club began competing in the far less lucrative Europa League.

Second-quarter losses were slightly offset by an increase in commercial income, which rose by 7 per cent to £70.6m thanks to recent multi-year sponsorship deals with the likes of Mondelēz and the Alibaba Group.

However, the club still expects its total revenues for 2020 to be between £560m and £580m – a sharp drop from the £627m reported in the 2018-19 period.

The club’s net debt also increased by £73.6m to £391.3m over the three months as it sought to back manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the transfer market and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told investors: “The foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole.

“We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season.”

United currently sits fifth in the Premier League, a position which ought to secure Champions League football next season unless current second-placed team Manchester City overturns a two-year Uefa ban from the competition.

Manchester United recently came third in the Deloitte Football Money League which ranks the world’s leading football teams by revenue.

Barcelona topped the league for the 2018-19 season with total revenues of €840.8m (£741.1m/$935.9m), while Spanish rival Real Madrid came second.

The authors of the report suggested United was “at risk of losing its position as the Premier League’s highest revenue generating club for the first time in Money League history” after downgrading its revenue guidance to £560-£580m.