(Reuters) - A run to the final of the Europa League helped English soccer club Manchester United to raise its revenue and profit forecast for 2016-17 and winning the trophy would boost its finances for next season by unlocking a place in the Champions League.
United need to defeat Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam in the final on May 24 to qualify for the Champions League in 2017-18, Europe’s most lucrative club competition.
A place in the Champions League would normally provide 40-50 million pounds in revenues, against a figure of about 15-20 million pounds for playing in the lower profile Europa League, United’s Chief Financial Officer Cliff Baty said.
United have however done better out of the Europa League this season because other English clubs missed out on the later stages and so got a smaller share of the pooled payments.
United, whose best known players include Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney, said it expected to report full-year revenue of between 560 and 570 million pounds, better than its previous forecast of 530-540 million pounds.
The club also increased its forecast for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 185-195 million pounds for 2016-17. Its previous forecast was for a figure of between 170 and 180 million pounds.
“We look forward to a strong finish to 2016-17, both on and off the pitch,” said Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward.
The Europa League is the one major trophy United have never won.
Controlled by the American Glazer family, United have won the English league title a record 20 times but had slipped from their own lofty standards in recent seasons.
However, the club lifted its first title under its new coach Jose Mourinho, winning the League Cup in February by beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley.
They are currently only sixth in the Premier League and cannot make the top four, the normal route into the Champions League.
Progress in cup competitions means the team will have played 64 matches by the end of this season, making the current campaign its second busiest ever.
Mourinho’s men will prepare for the next season by playing five games in five cities in the United States on a summer tour including matches against Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona on July 23 and 26 respectively.
Broadcasting revenue grew 12.9 percent to 31.4 million pounds ($40.5 million) for the quarter ended March 31, primarily due to the impact of the new Premier League broadcasting agreement, the club said.
Total revenue for the quarter grew 3.1 percent to 127.2 million pounds. However, EBITDA fell by a third to 30 million pounds, partly because of higher staff costs. ($1 = 0.7760 pounds)
Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir