Manchester United posts £92m annual loss as it counts cost of pandemic

·2-min read

Manchester United has reported an annual loss of £92.2m as it counted the cost of forced stadium closures during the pandemic.

The Premier League club saw matchday revenues fall by 92% to just £7.1m for the year to the end of June, a period when all but one of its home matches were played behind closed doors.

It also suffered a £42.5m fall in sponsorship revenues, primarily due to no money-spinning pre-season tour taking place as a result of COVID-19.

Participation in the Champions League helped cushion the blow, with broadcast revenue for the year rising by 82% to £254.8m as a result - also boosted by the deferral of games from the previous season into the first quarter of 2020/21 after a mid-season interruption caused by the pandemic.

Playing at the top level of European football also meant greater rewards for players - resulting in a £38.6m increase in their wage bill to £322.6m.

Overall revenues were down by just 3% to £494.1m. The club's bottom line loss compares to a £23.2m loss in the 2019/20 financial year.

There was no mention in the results statement for the club - which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange - of its participation in the ill-fated European Super League project, abandoned after pressure from fans, politicians and players.

The club was cautious on its outlook, despite the lifting of government restrictions and Old Trafford welcoming back fans at full capacity this season.

It said that "the nature of the ongoing pandemic may result in government restrictions being reimposed in the future" and given the resultant uncertainty it did not provide revenue or earnings guidance for the current period.

But executive vice chairman Ed Woodward struck an upbeat note after the club resigned crowd favourite Cristiano Ronaldo while also making other big signings including England's Jadon Sancho.

"It has been an exciting start to the season at Old Trafford, with capacity crowds in attendance for the first time in almost 18 months," said Mr Woodward.

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