United’s Old Trafford ground (Getty)

(WFI) New sponsorship and broadcast deals have lifted Manchester United’s revenues to a record £98.5 million ($132.5m) for the first quarter through September.

The Premier League title holders today reported a 29% increase in revenues. Commercial revenues were £59.9 million, an increase of 39.3% on the corresponding period last year.

Of this, sponsorship revenue was up 62.6% to £45.2 million “primarily due to a significant increase from the pre-season tour, higher renewals and the activation of new global and regional sponsorships”.

Twelve new sponsorship deals were activated in the first quarter – Aeroflot and Bulova (global); Pepsi, Apollo Tyres, Federal Tyres and Manda Fermentation (regional); Commercial Bank Qatar, Emirates Bank, MBNA and afb (financial services); Sky NZ (MUTV) and True Corporation (mobile and MUTV).

Revenues from retail, merchandising and product licensing rose 13.8% to £10.7 million.

The club said broadcasting revenues increased 40.9% to £19.3 million due to the increased revenue from the Premier League domestic and international rights agreements, one additional live Premier League game compared to the prior year quarter, and increases in share of UEFA Champions League fixed pool distributions.

Staff costs including players’ wages for the quarter were £52.9 million, an increase of £12.6 million (31.3%) over the corresponding period in 2012. This rise was attributed to “the impact of a full period of wage costs relating to players signed part way through the prior year quarter, contractual player wage increases and bonuses associated with the growth of our commercial business’.

United forecasts total revenues for the year to be £420m to £430m. This prediction is based on the team finishing no lower than third in the Premier League and making the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and domestic cups.

United’s vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “We are pleased to have achieved another record first quarter, driven by the strength of our commercial business and increased broadcasting revenues. Our unique approach to the commercial business will continue to drive future growth.”

Woodward welcomed the new BT Sport broadcast deal, worth around £900m, European football competitions announced earlier this week, saying the club was “excited by the continuing rise in the value of sports content”.

BT acquired exclusive rights to air live UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches starting in 2015. Under the three-year deal, BT will pay £299m per season.

“This deal represents a meaningful increase over the current arrangement, which should translate into higher broadcasting revenues for the participating clubs,” he said.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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