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Breaking Down Manchester United's 2022 Financials
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Manchester United is one of the most successful clubs in world football. They have won a record 20 League titles, have over 135,000 people on their waiting list for season tickets, and according to Forbes, they are the world’s 3rd most valuable football club at $4.6 billion — only trailing Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Real Madrid: $5.1 billion (+7% YoY)
Barcelona: $5.1 billion (+5% YoY)
Manchester United: $4.6 billion (+10% YoY)
Liverpool: $4.45 billion (+9% YoY)
Bayern Munich: $4.275 billion (+1% YoY)
That rich history and strong fanbase also make them one of the world’s most unique sports assets. Why? Because many of their fans are frustrated with ownership, and from an investment perspective, the club has underperformed for a decade.
For example, let’s look at Manchester United’s 2022 financials.
Manchester United recently reported fourth-quarter revenue of $133 million, a 26% year-over-year increase, and $657 million in annual revenue, an 18% spike.
Here’s a breakdown of Manchester United’s three main revenue-generating categories: commercial, broadcasting, and matchday.
Commercial revenue for the year was £257.8 million, an increase of £25.6 million, or 11.0%, over the prior year.
Sponsorship revenue was £147.9 million, an increase of £7.7 million, or 5.5%, over the prior year, primarily due to the impact of new sponsorship agreements. The prior year was affected by COVID-19-related variations.
Retail, Merchandising, Apparel & Product Licensing revenue was £109.9 million, an increase of £17.9 million, or 19.5%, over the prior year, primarily due to the closure of the Megastore in the prior year and the return of fans in the current year.
Broadcasting revenue for the year was £214.9 million, a decrease of £39.9 million, or 15.7%, over the prior year, primarily due to playing twenty-two fewer home and away games across all competitions compared to the prior year.
Matchday revenue for the year was £110.5 million, an increase of £103.4 million, or 1456.3%, over the prior year, due to the return of fans to Old Trafford. In the prior year, all matches prior to the final home match of the season were played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Furthermore, for fiscal 2023, Manchester Uniexpectsting total revenues to be in the range of £580 million to £600 million — that would be flat (or slightly up) to this ear, but still down from the club’s record £627 million in revenue in 2019.
Manchester United Total Income (£’s)
2015: £395 million
2016: £515 million
2017: £581 million
2018: £590 million
2019: £627 million
2020: £509 million
2021: £494 million
2022: £583 million
And for those that want more detail, here’s a great look at the key financials.
Of course, most of these year-over-year numbers are still skewed by COVID-19—Manchester United played all its matches behind closed doors last year—and they don’t tell the real story about the operational challenges at Old Trafford.
For example, despite revenue rising from £494 million to £583 million (+18%) last year, Manchester United saw its annual pre-tax loss increase from £24 million to £150 million.
That’s a 523% increase, and it means the club lost more money last year than all but two Premier League clubs in history — Manchester City in 2010/11 and Chelsea in 2020/21.
Put simply, the club is paying more money in wages than ever before (up 19% YoY from £323m to £384m), but the results on the pitch haven’t been good enough.
For example, Manchester United hasn’t won a single Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after winning thirteen titles in twenty-six years.
This means they have lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars in income from broadcasting contracts and have even paid nearly £60 million in terminated coaching staff contracts over the last decade.
Even worse, Manchester United has gone from being one of the rare football clubs globally to turn a profit year-in and year-out to losing money on an accelerating basis.
Manchester United Operating Profit/(Loss)
2013: £59 million
2014: £66 million
2015: £10 million
2016: £87 million
2017: £70 million
2018: £28 million
2019: £44 million
2020: (£13 million)
2021: (£44 million)
2022: (£85 million)
Of course, the equity market hasn’t reacted well to this performance either.
Manchester United became a publicly traded company ($MANU) in 2012 at $14/share, but a decade later, the stock sits 7% below its IPO price — compared to a 165% gain for the S&P 500 over the same period.
And keep in mind, Manchester United was the first sports asset globally to reach a $3 billion valuation in 2013, so even with the club’s enterprise value increasing to a reported $4.6 billion today, the club’s increased debt load, crumbling stadium, poor on-pitch performance, and lack of operational excellence, has pushed its valuation beneath competitors like Real Madrid and Barcelona.
It’s unclear where things go from here. Manchester United supporters have been protesting against ownership for years, despite a record amount of spending, and the ownership group appears to feel comfortable knowing the club’s valuation will continue to increase while they take millions of dollars off the table annually through dividends, management fees, and executive compensation packages.
But I think it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on. This can only go on for so long, and if a wealthy individual or group thinks it’s an undervalued asset and makes a compelling offer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Glazers eventually sell the club.
Ps. If you want a deeper dive into Manchester United’s 2022 financials, I highly recommend checking out Swiss Ramble’s Twitter thread.
Have a great day. I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.
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