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SBD Global/November 15, 2013/Finance

ManU Attributes Record-High Quarterly Revenue To Soaring Value Of TV Rights

Manchester United was valued at $2.6B at the close of Wednesday's trading.
ManU highlighted the "soaring value of television rights for live games on Thursday after broadcast and sponsorship deals pushed quarterly revenues to a record high," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Premier League clubs are "benefiting from a battle" between pay-TV company Sky and BT for "supremacy in the sports market." ManU Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward said, "The value of content is rising. Sport is the must-have content and football is the world's No. 1 sport." Woodward added that the new BT deal would be worth upwards of £10M ($16M) a season to "English clubs playing in the Champions League, the most prestigious European competition." The club's shares, listed on the N.Y. Stock Exchange since Aug. '12, closed at $15.75 on Wednesday, valuing ManU at $2.6B. The stock has "risen from its market debut price of $14 and has defied critics who argue that soccer clubs are a risky investment best left to fans." Staff costs rose 31% to £53M, reflecting a "playing staff that includes international stars such as Dutch striker Robin van Persie and England forward Wayne Rooney" (REUTERS, 11/14). In London, Jack De Menezes reported ManU saw its revenue rise to £98M ($157.4M) -- an increase of 29.1%. A broadcasting income rise of 40.9% "was dwarfed by the club's growth in commercial income," which stands at 62.6% (INDEPENDENT, 11/14). BLOOMBERG's Christopher Elser reported "adjusted profit for the three months" ended Sept. 30 was $3.5M compared with a loss of £600,000 ($963,400) in the "year-earlier period." ManU said Thursday in an email that the profit figure was "adjusted for charges related to the club's initial public offering, the repurchase of senior secured notes and other items." Woodward: "Our unique approach to the commercial business will continue to drive future growth" (BLOOMBERG, 11/14).

A DOZEN SPONSORSHIPS ACTIVATED: The BBC reported ManU said 12 new "sponsorship deals were activated in the quarter with a range of companies, including Russian airline Aeroflot" and PepsiCo. Licensing of "clothing and other products" brought in £10.7M ($17.2M), a rise of 13.8% on last year. Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers Head of Equities Richard Hunter said, "Manchester United's stuttering start to the domestic season is in stark contrast to its performance off the field. There are some causes for concern, such as the steep percentage rises in operating expenses generally, and staff costs in particular." Hunter added that while the "share price would inevitably be affected by the on-field performance," there is no sign of the ManU "marketing machine beating a retreat" (BBC, 11/14).
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