English Premier League soccer club Manchester United said it remained on track to meet full-year financial targets as it posted a 14 percent fall in second quarter revenue, hurt by the absence of Champions League income this season.
The 20-times English champions, currently third in the Premier League, said total revenue in the three months to Dec.31 fell to 105.7 million pounds ($162.1 million), as the club missed out on midweek European soccer and related income after a dismal seventh place finish last season.
United welcomed a new three-year TV rights deal worth over 5 billion pounds signed by the 20-team Premier League this week, an increase of 70 percent.
“The recently announced Premier League broadcasting rights package…once again demonstrates that we are part of the top football league in the world,” executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.
Despite a downturn in their playing fortunes since the retirement of manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, United’s ability to grow revenues off the pitch has strengthened, making them the world’s second richest club behind Spain’s Real Madrid.
Majority owned by the American Glazer family, United confirmed expectations for lower full-year revenue of 385-395 million pounds, down from 433 million pounds last year, and core earnings of 90-95 million pounds, down from 130 million pounds.
At 105.7 million pounds, second quarter revenues beat an analyst consensus forecast of 100.8 million pounds, helped by two new sponsorship deals in the period that boosted commercial income by 9.7 percent.
Reflecting United’s first season without European soccer for more than two decades, the club’s broadcasting revenue, however, tumbled 39.4 percent in the quarter, with matchday revenue down 8.3 percent.
The club’s form has been mixed of late with performances lacking some of the style the club’s 659 million followers around the globe demand.
Despite spending over 150 million pounds on the likes of Argentine winger Angel di Maria and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, the team sit 12 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea. However, a top four finish would ensure a return to the Champions League.
United shares, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $17.23 on Wednesday, up 13 percent on a year ago, valuing the club at about $2.8 billion.