They’re one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, claiming a global fanbase of more than 650 million. They’ve won top division trophies in England twenty times. But now, this successful, prominent club is not only failing to make a challenge for the Premier League title, but they’re in serious danger of not reaching the Champions League at all, sitting 11 points out of fourth place.
What are Manchester United to do? Losing out on European play – because the Red Devils may not even make it into the Europa League next season – means not just missing out on glory, but losing at least £20m (~$33.5m) in revenue. And without a steady stream of cash, it’ll be impossible to secure the necessary signings to help lift the club back into those coveted top four positions.
It’s estimated the Champions League brought in around £35m (~$59m) this season – that’s a Juan Mata right there. But without that money, transforming the squad will be tough, if not impossible.
So United will cash in on their popularity. Friendlies, testimonials, exhibition games, played outside of Europe and likely throughout the season. The squad will travel, probably to the Middle East, to China, and/or to the United States. Exact details of where they might visit have yet to be worked out, but these destinations look promising.
Additionally, the club might make extra money by putting these games on pay-per-view channels, taking advantage of the willingness of their global fanbase to pay £5.95 (~$10) a pop to see Manchester United take on assorted sides throughout the world.
Fans are willing to part with their pounds to watch their side at Old Trafford, competing in the Champions League. They’ll tune in to that tournament to see the best players in the world competing. But will this strategy, in fact, work to keep United’s coffers filled? Or will fans be less inclined to pay to see a club in decline?