Man Utd still making money despite on-field mediocrity

LONDON: Manchester United on Monday posted a jump in first-quarter core earnings, boosted by increased revenue from sponsorship deals and as player wages fell after the English soccer club failed to qualify for the Uefa Champions League.

The 20-time English champions saw their revenue flat line in the quarter but stood by their annual revenue and core profit targets.

The club had warned in September that annual revenue would fall for the first time in five years and profit would also drop, as they will not be able to capitalise on Uefa’s broadcasting revenue distribution system.

“We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment,” Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said. “We are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through.”

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had to rely on players coming through the youth academy to try and turn the team’s fortunes around, putting the spotlight on academy graduates including Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood.

United are competing in the less lucrative Europa League this season and have endured a stuttering campaign so far in the Premier League, occupying seventh in the standings after 12 matches.

Revenue from broadcasting dropped by nearly a quarter, and the club said the majority of the full-year impact from missing out on the Champions League would occur in the second quarter.

Their core profit rose 18.4% to £34.8 million for the three months to Sept 30, as employee costs fell nearly 9%.

Sponsorship revenue climbed 8.1% to £53.6 million, largely due to new sponsorship deals with well-known brands such as Lego and Konami, as well as extra revenue from pre-season exhibition games.