Manchester United said the coronavirus outbreak cut the football club’s third-quarter revenue by about 23 million pounds ($28.1 million). Chief Financial Officer Cliff Baty gave the estimate on a conference call after an earnings update that included a 15-million-pound rebate United will pay to broadcasters for football fixtures halted because of the pandemic.
The return of those funds meant United’s broadcasting sales fell by more than half year-over-year to 26 million pounds. That left total revenue down about 19 per cent at 123.7 million pounds, the club said in a statement that provided its first update since matches were suspended in March.
The company withdrew its previous financial guidance for the year because of “ongoing uncertainty due to COVID-19 and the evolving related economic and financial consequences”,
The pandemic has ravaged the international sporting calendar, disrupting football leagues around the world. Germany’s top-flight professional league resumed matches on Saturday, with spectators barred from stadiums.
United’s rebate calculation was based on 29 Premier League fixtures covered up to the end of the third quarter, a spokesman said, adding that the remaining nine games will be accounted for in the fourth-quarter report. Baty added on the call that the rebate would rise to 20 million pounds for the full year as a result.
The shares fell as much as 6.4 per cent in New York and remain down about 21 per cent year-to-date, despite a recovery from their March lows.
United and their English rivals have resumed training under instruction from the Premier League to maintain social distancing. Six people from three clubs in the division were shown to have contracted COVID-19 this week after 748 players and staffers were tested.
The league had previously targeted June 12 as a possible date for fixtures to resume, but the restart is now expected to be pushed back, the BBC reported.