Manchester City’s “decade of hard work” closes the gap

MANCHESTER CITY’s historic 2018-19 season has not only been reflected in a trophy-packed boardroom, it has helped to deliver record revenues for the treble-winning Cityzens.

City’s revenues totalled £ 535 million, the second successive season in which the club broke the half billion mark. In 2018-19, revenues rose by 7% while expenses dropped by 18%.  City generated a profit of £ 10.1 million, just short of the £ 10.4 million profit in 2017-18. This was the fifth consecutive year that the club has generated a profit, partly due to the profits made on players sales. In 2018-19, recouped almost £ 40 million in profit from selling Joe Hart (£ 3.5m Burnley), Brahim Diaz (£15.5m Real Madrid), Jason Denayer (£ 5.8m Lyon), Pablo Maffeo (£9m Stuttgart) and Angus Gunn (£13.5m Southampton).

While the gap between City and their neighbours, United, in terms of revenues is about the same as 2017-18 (around £ 90 million), the 2019-20 season could see City overtake their rivals – United’s revenues for the campaign have been estimated at £ 590 million. With City in the Champions League, the balance may finally tip in their favour.

City’s broadcasting revenues climbed by 20% in 2018-19 to £ 252.2 million, predominantly due to increased UEFA income after a season in which City reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. City received £ 30 million of TV money via the Premier and including prize money won £ 147.5 million.

Matchday income totalled £ 55 million, just shy of 2017-18’s £ 56.6 million. City’s average attendance was 54,132 which represented a record for the club. This figure equated to a 99% occupancy rate at the Etihad Stadium. Commercial revenues were also slightly down at £ 226.7 million, but still the second highest in the club’s history. City have a very lucrative 10-year kit deal with Puma, totalling £ 650 million, which will enhance the positive trajectory in commercial income.

Manchester City FC annual revenues. Infographic from PA Graphics.

The club’s chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarek, commented on the 2018-19 results: “This outcome represents not just a season, but a decade of hard work. The organisation is now at a level of maturity that allows us to plan in multi-year cycles.”

City’s wage bill for the year was £ 315 million, up from £ 260 million (+21%). While this £ 55 million increase, in actual terms, was the highest ever recorded by the club, the wage-to-income ratio came in at 59%, more than 2017-18 but considered relatively healthy. The substantial rise in wages was down to higher bonuses due to domestic success in 2018-19.

Understandably given the club’s multi-national playing staff, City are concerned about the current UK political landscape. “Management continue to monitor the situation surrounding Brexit and any potential financial impact from this process,” said the club in its official statement.

If there is a cloud on the horizon for City it is the formal UEFA investigation around Financial Fair Play. The club insists it is confident of a positive outcome if they are given a fair trial and the verdict is based on facts. They may not be as relaxed as their comments suggest. City challenged the legitimacy of UEFA’s probe, but the Court of Arbitration ruled against the club because the legal process is ongoing. Should City be found guilty of financial irregularities, they could face some stringent sanctions, including a ban from European competition.

Meanwhile, City’s financial results confirm what everyone already knew – thanks to the Abu Dhabi backing, they have the resources to sustain their current success. Since 2010-11, they have won 10 major trophies, including four Premier League titles. The one missing jewel in the crown is the Champions League, so the eventual outcome of the UEFA investigation will be crucial for the near-term ambitions of the club.


Photo: PA


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