Manchester United’s aborted Irish venture generates €50,000 income

Revenue relates to premises English Premier League club still leases in Dublin city centre

Manchester United’s ill-fated Irish trading arm reported an operating income of €50,000 last year.

Accounts filed for Manchester United Commercial Enterprises (Ireland) show the income was linked to premises it leased on Westmoreland Street in Dublin .

The revenue will, however, make little or no dent in the near €8 million of losses generated by the club’s aborted Irish venture, which was forced to close a Dublin merchandising store and themed café in 2002 because of poor sales.

In its accounts, directors of the Irish entity said they had received confirmation that Manchester United Limited, its intermediated parent undertaking, intends to support the company for at least one more year.


On a positive note, United have become the first soccer club to be valued at more than €3 billion, according to accounting firm KPMG.

Despite finishing a disappointing sixth in the English Premier League, the club owned by the US-based Glazer family is now more valuable than Spanish giant Real Madrid.

United's ascendancy is all the more remarkable given that the team was absent from Europe's elite Champions League for the entire year. Its domestic standing would have ruled the club out for another 12 months, though victory in the second-tier Europa League qualified it to play at the highest level of European soccer next season, preventing the loss of millions in sponsorship income, including from its apparel provider Adidas.

Basing its valuations on publicly available financial information, KPMG found the 32 teams included in its study had a combined value of €29.9 billion, 14 per cent higher than in 2016, the first year the report was published.

About a third of that value is concentrated in just three teams: United, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

At $3.5 billion (€3.1 billion), Manchester United would be worth more than the stock market suggests. The New York-listed stock is up more than 20 per cent this year, giving a market value of $2.8 billion.

Real Madrid drops a place in the rankings despite winning its first Spanish title in five years and qualifying for the Champions League final that will be played in Cardiff on June 3rd.

The Premier League has six of the ten most valuable clubs this year. England's top tier consistently generated higher revenues than its European rivals, and has just completed the first season of its most-lucrative television contract, which meant the last-placed team Sunderland received £100 million in centrally distributed revenue. "In terms of media rights value, the English Premier League sits comfortably at the top of European leagues, although other major leagues have outlined well-defined strategies to compete for the attention of global fans," said Andrea Sartori, KPMG's global head of sports and the report's author. Real Madrid's opponent in Saturday's final, Juventus, is the only Italian team to make KPMG's top ten. The value of Italy's champion has increased 24 per cent year-on-year, according to the report.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times