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Volume 6 No. 213

Finance

ManU announced total revenues for the three months to October grew by 17.3% to £141M ($185.9M), according to Bill Wilson of the BBC. Broadcasting and matchday revenues "leapt more than 30%," while commercial and sponsor income also grew. But the club's income from retail, merchandising, sportswear and product licensing "slipped" by 0.4% on the previous year. The club also reported a "big leap in operating profits," from £6.2M a year ago to £15.2M ($20M). ManU is second in the Premier League and "poised to qualify" for the Champions League knockout phase. Club Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward said, "In the Champions League, we have won all four games played to-date; we are through to the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup and are looking forward to the next few months as the number of matches ramps up" (BBC, 11/16). In London, James Ducker reported wages increased by £7.6M ($10M) to £69.9M ($92.2M) for the quarter "largely as a consequence" of the return of Champions League bonuses for players and the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matić and Victor Lindelöf in the summer. Some players "benefit from a salary jump" as great as 25% through participation in the Champions League. ManU's wage bill for '16-17 was £263M. Its five tour matches in the U.S. in July, "a money-spinner for the club," were watched by a cumulative audience of more than 250,000. The club is still forecasting revenues for '17-18 to be between £575M ($758.1M) and £585M ($771.3M) with adjusted EBITDA of between £175M ($230.7M) and £185M ($243.9M) (TELEGRAPH, 11/16). Also in London, Mark Critchley reported the "other headline figure" saw ManU's net debt, a "point of contention ever since the Glazers' controversial takeover" in '05, listed as £268.1M ($353.5M), a 20.6% decrease over the course of the year. The club's gross debt "remains unchanged" but an increase in cash reserves to £216M ($284.8M), up from £164M last year, "helped the net figure to fall" (INDEPENDENT, 11/16). In London, Mike Keegan reported the numbers "also show an uplift in staff numbers" from 837 to 914. This is thought to be "in large part" due to an increase in scouting staff, and "reflects a revamping of the club's network over the last 12 months." Woodward said that ManU hit 300 million interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter -- 80% more than the next biggest Premier League club. It also emerged that the sale of Adnan Januzaj to La Liga side Real Sociedad and sell-on fees for Danny Drinkwater and Michael Keane made the club £17.3M ($22.8M) (DAILY MAIL, 11/16).

AC Milan reportedly agreed to a deal to refinance its loan from Elliott Management, "though with a higher interest rate." The club was taken over by a Chinese consortium in April, financed by a loan from the U.S. hedge fund. Under the terms of the deal, if the €303M ($356.5M) loan -- circa €350M ($411.8M) with interest -- is not repaid within a year, Elliott can "take over the running of the club" and sell club assets to get its money back. The new financing deal would be worth around €400M (470.6M), with €250M ($294.1M) falling on Rossoneri Sport Investment and €150M ($176.5M) on the club (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 11/16).

British video game retailer GAME Digital announced its end-of-year results, and reported a pre-tax loss of $13.2M during the fiscal year which ended on July 29. However, its esports and event division "has seen a significant growth" of 116.4%, "becoming the company's key focus for the upcoming years." The company said that its loss can "be linked with the long-term investments to the events, esports, and digital division" (ESPORTS OBSERVER, 11/15).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.