Manchester United Is Unlikely to Score an Earnings Goal Thursday

Among only a handful of listed global sports clubs, Manchester United (MANU) carries a glorious legacy of 138 years and 62 trophies.

Manchester United is also the world's most prominent sports brand, given the immense popularity that the game enjoys across the world.

Thursday promises to be an important tipping point for the stock that is more than 16% this year, as investors prepare for the release of fiscal first-quarter earnings.

It is important to remember that most sports teams find favor on Wall Street not particularly because of their numbers. A love of the game, its icons and players associated with the sport draw investor consideration.

But there are better investments.

Manchester United, Liberty Media (Atlanta Braves), Madison Square Garden (New York Knicks, New York Liberty and New York Rangers) and Roger Communications (Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leaves and Toronto Raptors ) are among this rare breed of sports franchise investment options.

Analysts are suggesting a staid quarter for this $2.45 billion soccer powerhouse, a 7.3% drop in sales accompanied by a sharp decline in earnings numbers.

Manchester United expects revenue in the range of £530 to £540 million, and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of £170 to £180 million for the full fiscal year.

That would be a far cray from the fiscal fourth quarter, when sales spiked by 27.1% from a year earlier, along with a slim but positive rise in earnings per share.

Manchester United's business model is sharply focused on robust content generation, akin to Formula 1, Nascar, the NBA or the NFL.

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