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What Will a Poor Season Cost Man United?

At the end of the current campaign, which will end trophy-less for Manchester United, David Moyes & Co., will be hoping that this season is more of an anomaly in the club's storied history rather than a sign of things to come. For color: last year, under Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils won the Premier League finishing 38 points above Liverpool. This season, Moyes’ first, has seen United fall 17 points behind its fierce rival, which is currently top of the pile with five games to play. The defending champ is languishing in seventh-place, seven points behind Arsenal, another traditional rival, in the fourth and final UEFA Champions League qualification place.

On the financial side, there is much to consider, BBC pundit Ben Smith notes. Will sponsors think twice before supporting the club? United has some 35 individual sponsors, which run the gamut from inside shirt sponsor to official noodle partner for Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. This is not expected to change just because of one trophy-less season without qualifying for the UCL.

However, a more immediate concern is the lack of prize money, ticket sales and broadcasting revenue from UCL games. Broadcasting revenue alone amounts to $52.4 million, while UEFA pays out a total of 800,000 pounds ($1.3 million) for each win and 415,000 pounds ($670,000) for each draw. The prize money can be substantial: Chelsea, for example, took home 48 million pounds ($80.3 million) when it won the competition in 2012.

Read the whole story at BBC Sport »

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