London (AFP) – Manchester United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League is beginning to erode the club’s finances, but increased commercial income helped the English giants post revenues of £135.4 million ($174 million) for the first quarter of the 2019-2020 season on Monday.
That represents a £400,000 increase on the same period for the previous year thanks to more sponsorship income and two extra home games compared to the same stage of last season.
Broadcasting revenue fell by nearly £10 million due to a lack of Champions League football, which will make an even bigger impact in figures for the second quarter of the year when five of the six group games are played.
United are expecting the 2020 annual revenue to fall to between £560-580 million, compared to £627 million for the year ending June 30, 2019 due to the lack of Champions League revenue.
However, the failure to qualify for the competition is also reflected in a 6.8 million drop in the club’s wage bill for the first quarter of the season.
Net debt rose £137 million to £384.5 million due to spending on players such as Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James in the summer transfer market.
“The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our academy are already beginning to bear fruit,” said United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
“Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions.”
United have won five of their last six games in all competitions, but are in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League again next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are seventh in the Premier League, nine points adrift of the top four after 12 games.
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