Manchester United’s bank balance appears to be insulated from the side’s performance on field. The English Premier League team, who sit fifth in the table with hopes of Champions League qualification looking bleak, has surged better than any other club on the commercial front.
United on Friday announced their revenue rose almost 27 per cent in the last three months of 2015. Ironically, the period also coincides with team’s worst run in the Premier League, a time wherein the calls for the axing of first team manager, Louis van Gaal, intensified.
“Our solid results off the pitch help contribute to what remains our number one priority - success on the pitch,” United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said in a statement. The club said they expect adjusted core earnings of 178 million pounds to 188 million pounds for the year, an increase from the earlier outlook of 165 million to 175 million. It maintained expectations for revenue of between 500 and 510 million pounds.
There were several factors behind the increased forecast, head of corporate finance Hemen Tseayo told financial analysts. “The English clubs received a higher-than-expected distribution from the Champions League market pool,” he said, referring to the way broadcast revenue is shared out.
Lower-than-expected player costs and appearance fees had given a further boost after United made no major signings in the January transfer window.
Shares in United, controlled by the American Glazer family, jumped 6.9 percent to $14.57 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares had fallen about 30 percent from its November high of $19.74, reflecting the team’s struggles.
United, league winners a record 20 times, are six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City. Clubs need to finish in the top four of the Premier League to gain access to the Champions League in the following season.
United’s global appeal, which it says stretches to 659 million followers, continues to prove lucrative, with two sponsorship deals signed in the quarter. Earlier in the month, the club signed a partnership with Twenty-First Century Fox to promote film distributor’s latest movies during the club’s home games.
United is to pay a quarterly dividend of $0.045 per share.