Manchester United quarterly revenue tumbles as ticket sales suffer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United interacts with Thiago Silva of Chelsea after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in last month
FINANCIAL CHALLENGES: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United interacts with Thiago Silva of Chelsea after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in last month
Image: Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images

Manchester United's first-quarter revenue fell nearly 20%, as it continued to lose out on ticket sales from fans unable to attend matches due to the coronavirus crisis, the club said on Thursday.

The results were expected on Friday, but the company said the statement was released a day in advance due to an error by the publishers of its filings.

The pandemic has played havoc with the sporting calendar, forcing the suspension of English Premier League fixtures for three months, with fans still unable to attend matches.

United has failed to win at home in the league this season and had urged the government last month to allow fans back into stadiums, adding it can safely host 23,500 fans at Old Trafford while maintaining social distancing.

It remains uncertain whether fans would be welcomed back any time soon after England imposed a one-month lockdown this month.

Manchester United's executive vice-chair Ed Woodward said on Thursday the health crisis continued to cause “significant disruption”, but was optimistic that a recovery phase was gradually coming into view.

The results come at a time when club manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future was questioned after a shock 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League last week, but those concerns were eased after the win at Everton.

“We remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop,” Woodward said.

The club said playing matches behind closed doors and cancellation of the preseason tour hit revenue, which was partly offset by higher broadcasting revenue compared to the last quarter.

Match day revenue slumped 92.3% to £1.7m (R35m), while broadcasting revenue jumped 44.7% to £47.6 (R980m).

The company said quarterly loss was £30.3 (R624m) and revenue was £109m (R2.24bn). — Reuters

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