Champions League absence dents United’s revenues

PLAYER sales helped Manchester United achieve stronger first quarter earnings, but the club’s absence from the Champions League dented revenues.

In the three months to September 30, the club saw income fall by 10% from £98.5m to £88.6m, as it missed out on TV and matchday revenues associated with playing in Europe.

However, it moved from a pre-tax loss of £470,000 in the corresponding period last year to a profit of £8.1m.

This was down to much higher profits on player sales, up to £18.3m from £1m, and lower finance charges which fell to £6.2m from £9.8m. During the period the club signed players such as Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo, and Radamel Falcao.

Broadcasting revenue fell by 13% to £16.8m and matchday income was down 21.8% to £15.1m. Commercial revenues fell 5.2% to £56.8m despite signing five sponsorship deals during the quarter with Nissin, Abengoa, Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, Maybank and Gloops.

Vice chairman Ed Woodward said: “While we recognize that the 2014-15 fiscal year financial results will reflect our absence from the Champions League, we signed the largest kit sponsorship deal in the history of sport in the first quarter and, with that concluded, we are excited to focus our efforts on the meaningful growth opportunities in sponsorship, digital media and retail and merchandising.”

Gross debt was up 0.3% in the quarter to £362.2m.