Manchester United has withdrawn its annual financial targets while estimating it lost around £23-million ($39-million) in revenue in the third quarter as the coronavirus crisis brought the Premier League and European soccer competitions to a halt.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward acknowledged the uncertainty brought upon by “one of the most extraordinary testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United,” but said he was optimistic about the future amid hopes the Premier League could resume next month.
England’s top clubs have returned to training this week with the aim of resuming matches behind closed doors in June, a sentiment echoed by Mr. Woodward on a media call after the earnings were posted.
He pointed to the return of the German Bundesliga last weekend as a sign of “strong, pent-up demand” for live soccer on television.
Mr. Woodward said he hopes United could complete all of the team’s 2019-20 games by the end of August and start next season in time for it to end on schedule in May, 2021.
United, which is in a “rebuild” mode as it chases a return to the lucrative UEFA Champions League competition, sat in fifth place in the 20-team Premier League when play was halted.
Broadcasting revenue was more than halved in the third quarter ended March 31, causing total revenue to slide 19 per cent to £123.7-million.
Net debt ballooned by more than 42 per cent to £429-million and the club, controlled by the American Glazer family, recorded a net loss of £22.8-million once the cost of financing that burden was taken into account.
United is expected to have to sacrifice around £20-million in broadcast revenue over the full season, its slice of a rebate the Premier League will have to offer for delays in staging matches caused by the crisis.
United has not played since routing LASK Linz 5-0 behind closed doors in the Europa League in Austria on March 12. Man U’s most recent match at its Old Trafford home was a 2-0 win over local rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on March 8.