United’s Europa Imperative

Here are some numbers to make your eyes water if you are involved in the commercial world of sport in Ireland.

Manchester United revealed their third quarter financial results yesterday and are on target to produce commercial revenues for the full year to the end of June that will amount to £570 million (€663 million).

Sponsorship alone in the three months to the end of March hit a figure close to £40 million including new global deals signed with Uber and Aladdin.

Success off the field though is still driven, in the longer term at least, by results off it.

United’s mega deal with Adidas has a clause that if they fail to qualify for the Champions’ League in successive seasons that the following year will see a reduction of 30% in the €90 million a year income from that pot.

Next Wednesday’s Europa League final is vital then in that it would secure the qualification and steady the vast ship on which those financial fortunes float.

It’s pretty important to the players as well.  United’s player contracts are based on their assumed qualification to play in the Champions’ League.  When that does not happen there is an automatic 25% reduction in player wages for the following season.

Given that the wage bill is over £100 million per annum that again is a sum which represents more than half of the entire government funding given to Irish sport in a 12 month period.

Victory next Wednesday then is pretty important to the business suits and the track suits, never mind the fans.

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