Although Manchester United are struggling for results on the pitch, what cannot be denied is their overwhelming success off it. With around 660 million fans, United are one of the world’s biggest football clubs. From next season they will become the richest club in the world when they receive a share of the 71% rise in domestic broadcast revenue.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, it is safe to say that the team itself has been steadily declining. The time when United were competing to win trophies on all fronts seems an age ago, and the struggle to keep up with their “noisy neighbours” Manchester City is something which will deeply hurt anyone associated with the club.
David Moyes was deemed fit to succeed the legendary Sir Alex, and although the ex-Everton boss could not bring immediate success, it seemed harsh when the board of directors at Old Trafford decided to bring his time at the helm to a premature end. A 7th place finish that season meant that Manchester United would not be competing in the Champions League for the first time since the 1995-1996 season.
Questions were raised about how a club so used to European football would cope financially now they could no longer rely on the competition as a source of income. Indeed, profits did decrease slightly and as you would expect, broadcast revenues did fall as United paid the price for their inconsistent performances on the pitch.
Dutchman Louis Van Gaal took over the permanent reigns from David Moyes after Ryan Giggs was in charge for a short spell as interim manager. Indeed, the 64-year-old guided United back into Europe’s elite competition in his very first season, the minimum the board expected his side to achieve. However, it looks increasingly unlikely that he will be able to repeat that feat this time around. Although his team’s inconsistent performances this season will be considered unacceptable, what we do know is that United will still continue to be a financial superpower, regardless of their success on the pitch.
In 2014, a £750 million agreement with multinational corporation Adidas was reached, meaning United would earn £125 million a season just from their Chevrolet shirt sponsorship deal. As well as this, the Red Devils are now on course to become the first British football club to earn more than £500 million in one year. Manchester United are not just a football team, they are a global brand. Despite their lack of silverware recently and their failure to qualify for Europe, they will still be able to compete financially with anyone.