London (AFP) – Manchester United announced record quarterly revenues and profit for the last three months of 2016 on Thursday despite the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Revenues climbed to £157.9 million ($198.3 million, 185.6 million euros), up 18 percent on the previous year, with broadcasting revenues up 40.8 percent and match-day revenues up 27 percent.
Debt for the period surged 27.1 percent to £409.3 million, but United blamed it solely on the collapse of the pound following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last June.
“The robustness of our business model continues to be reflected in our strong quarterly financial results and we remain on track to deliver record revenues for the year,” executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.
Last month, financial analysts Deloitte revealed United had returned to the top of football’s rich list for the first time since 2005, supplanting Real Madrid thanks to revenues of £515 million.
Bolstered by a formidable commercial operation, United expect record revenues of between £530 million and £540 million for 2016-17.
United had written off German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger as an asset in the previous financial quarter, but his return to the first-team fold was reflected as a £4.8 million item of “exceptional credit”.
The growth in broadcasting and match-day revenues partly reflects the fact there were three more home games in the most recent quarter compared to the equivalent period in 2015.
But United also see it as a sign of the club’s enduring popularity despite their failure to reach the Champions League in the season before Louis van Gaal gave way to Jose Mourinho as manager.
United have been sixth in the Premier League table since November, but have closed to within two points of the Champions League places.
They play Southampton in the League Cup final on February 26 and remain alive in both the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Woodward congratulated captain Wayne Rooney for the “remarkable feat” of surpassing Bobby Charlton as United’s record scorer, after he netted his 250th goal for the club.
In a conference call with investors, Woodward said United expected future transfer activity to be more “steady” than in recent windows, during which their squad has been extensively remodelled.
“There’s a happiness from the manager (with the squad), as you can tell from his recent interviews,” Woodward said.
“There’s always continual improvement. But we aren’t necessarily in a position where we have to churn a large number of players. We want to get in a steady state.”
Woodward refused to confirm reports United will return to the United States for their next pre-season tour, but said the tour will be “larger” than last year’s short trip to China.
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