Off the pitch, Manchester Utd have reasons to be cheerful

Manchester United provided some cheer in an otherwise gloomy season yesterday with an 11.6 per cent jump in second quarter revenues, helped by rising commercial and broadcasting sales.

United, who are enduring a tough campaign under the leadership of new manager David Moyes and currently sit seventh in the league, said they were on course to hit revenue and profit targets for the financial year to end-June.

Revenue for the last three months of 2013 rose 11.6 per cent on last year to £122.9m, in line with analyst forecasts, while adjusted core earnings before charges such as interest and tax was 1.6 per cent ahead at £51m.

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Broadcasting and commercial sales both rose almost 19 per cent in the quarter, with the club activating six sponsorship deals in the period including with Fuji TV and Banif Bank.

“We continue to see meaningful opportunities to grow our commercial business and the popularity of football on TV is leading to continued broadcasting revenue growth,” Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman said, adding everyone from Moyes down had acknowledged its poor league position.

The club, who last year won a record 20th Premier League title in Alex Ferguson’s last season as manager, are 16 points off leaders Chelsea with more than half the season gone and in danger of missing out on a place in the lucrative UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995.

Despite the poor form, United are set for a big rise in turnover as benefits roll in from improved Premier League TV contracts and new sponsorship deals.

The club is forecasting revenue for the current season of between £420m and £430m, up from £363m.

Its finances could soon be further boosted by a new kit supply deal. Last month the club, owned by the American Glazer family, said it was in talks with several sportswear companies, including existing supplier Nike, about replacing its current contract that expires next year.

Shares in United, who claim to be the world’s best supported football team with more than 650 million followers, closed on the New York Stock Exchange at $15.23 on Tuesday, down 19 per cent on a year ago.

Meanwhile, Manchester United has frozen season ticket prices for 2014/2015.

The club’s current season-ticket holders can now renew online for next season.

For a full adult ticket, prices range from £532 to £950. The club recently dropped out of the top three in the Deloitte football rich list for the first time.

Despite generating a 7 per cent increase in revenue last year, to £363m, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all made more.

Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte’s sports business group, said: “Match-day revenues – of which season ticket sales are the biggest component – have actually been pretty flat across the Premier League.

“For the 2008-09 season, they were £573m and for 2013-14, it’s estimated at £580m.”