With its recent promotion back into the Premier League, all eyes are on AFC Richmond and their singular coach, Theodore “Ted” Lasso, as they faced their season opener this week. But, while football pundits and oddsmakers debate Richmond’s chances on the pitch, Visible Alpha’s data suggests that equity analysts are expecting remarkable performance off of it.
Record Revenue for Richmond
Despite being relegated after a nail-biting match against Manchester City in 2020, Richmond managed to generate record revenues due to their exclusive media distribution agreement with Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) AFC Richmond Channel—also called “Apple TV+.” While revenue figures are not disclosed by either Apple or AFC Richmond, analysts polled by Visible Alpha estimate that the service brought in $997 million (£818 million) last year, putting AFC Richmond ahead of Manchester City’s league-leading $754 million (£619 million) in 2022 revenue, according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League.
Man Utd: A Worthy Rival
However, investors seeking to profit from rising fan engagement in British football will find few venues to pursue, with Richmond’s rival Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) being the only publicly traded club in the Premier League. AFC Richmond itself is private and the AFC Richmond Channel / Apple TV+ contributes well under 1% of partner Apple’s revenues.
Unlike Richmond, whose media revenues are predicted to more than double over the next two years with subscribers/fans of the AFC Richmond Channel / Apple TV+ growing from 22.9 million in 2022 to over 43.7 million in 2024, Manchester United’s broadcast revenues are expected to simply grow from a lowered base back towards their pre-COVID levels of 2019. However, analysts polled by Visible Alpha are predicting steady growth overall from United over the next several years under its new manager Erik ten Hag, with strong matchday and sponsorship revenues driving that expansion.
While analysts are incredibly bullish on Richmond at the moment, Manchester United has a growth story of its own. With such highly variable performance over the last two seasons, can Ted Lasso and his Greyhounds continue their current winning streak? If they falter, perhaps investors will choose to give Erik ten Hag and the Red Devils their due.
Kickoff for AFC Richmond was Wednesday, March 15th.