(Photo: Manchester United FC)

Man United hit by $18 million broadcasting rebate due to COVID-19

(Photo: Manchester United FC)

Manchester United Plc’s revenue dropped in the third quarter as the club estimated it’ll have to pay a 15-million-pound ($18.4 million) rebate to broadcasters after the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to soccer fixtures.

(Photo: SkySports)

The rebate meant United’s broadcasting sales fell by more than half year-on-year to 26 million pounds, leaving total revenue down about 19 per cent at 123.7 million pounds, the northern England-based club said in a statement — its first update since matches were suspended in March.

The company withdrew its previous financial guidance for the year because of “ongoing uncertainty due to COVID-19 and the evolving related economic and financial consequences.”

The rebate calculation was based on 29 Premier League fixtures covered up to the end of the third quarter, a spokesman said by phone, adding that the remaining nine games will be accounted for in the fourth-quarter report.

Man United’s shares, which are listed in New York, are down about 18% this year, having partly recovered from a slump of as much as 37% in mid-March.

United and its English rivals have resumed training under instruction from the Premier League to maintain social distancing. Six people from three clubs in the division were shown to have contracted COVID-19 this week after testing on 748 players and staff.

The league had previously targeted June 12 as a possible date for fixtures to resume, but the restart is now expected to be pushed back, the BBC reported.