Manchester United losses widen in club’s ‘most challenging year’

Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium
X The Business Desk

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The ongoing pandemic has continued to impact Manchester United’s revenues as losses widened to more than £90m during their latest financial year.

Announcing their financial results for the 2021 fourth quarter and twelve months ending 30 June 2021, the Premiere League club reported losses of £92.2m, compared to losses of £23.2m in the previous year.

The Old Trafford side also saw revenue drop from £509m to £494.1m while its adjusted EBITDA went from £132.1m to £95.1m.

The Old Trafford Stadium, Museum and Stadium Tour operations remained closed to visitors throughout the financial year until part way into the fourth quarter.

In line with government guidelines, and with a variety of safety measures and protocols in place, including reduced fan capacity, Old Trafford Stadium welcomed back 10,000 supporters for the final home match of the season.

The 2020/21 Premier league fixtures was delayed until 19 September 2020, due to the deferred completion of the 2019/20 season.

2020/21 matches were played over a more condensed period with most of the current season shortfall being played in the third and fourth quarters, as outlined below.

During fiscal 2021, 33 home matches across all competitions were played behind closed doors, plus one home Premier League fixture, which was played with a significantly reduced fan capacity.

This is compared with a total of 23 home matches with fans in attendance and one home match played behind closed doors during the prior year, creating a significant shortfall in Matchday revenues.

The club’s commercial revenue fell in the year from £279m to £232.2m while broadcasting revenue increased from £140.2m to £254.8m.

Matchday revenue nosedived from £89.8m to £7.1m.

Speaking after the release of the club’s full-year financial results, Ed Woodward described the past 12 months as “among the most challenging in the history of Manchester United” because of the pandemic and said “everyone associated with the club can be proud of the resilience we have shown through these most testing of times”.

“We said during the depths of the pandemic that the club would emerge in a stronger relative position, and I believe we are now seeing that borne out as we build towards recovery from a very solid foundation,” he said.

“The most important part of this recovery is the return of fans to Old Trafford and it has been fantastic to see and hear the stadium full for the first time in almost 18 months.

“The amazing atmosphere during the opening home games of the season demonstrates that fans are the lifeblood of the game, and we’re so glad to have them back.”

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