Manchester United still number 1 in brand value
Real Madrid may win almost everything on-the-field but Manchester United are still tops in football clubs' brand value07 June 2017 | FT Editor
Real Madrid may have had a stellar season winning La Liga and back-to-back Champions League titles, but when it comes to brand value, Manchester United remains supreme amongst football clubs.
While United finished 6th in the Premier League their brand value is US$1.733 billion compared with Real’s US$1.419 billion. Barcelona’s is marginally behind at US$1.418 billion.
United’s enduring success is partly the result of a lasting halo effect from the good times under Alex Ferguson. However, the most crucial ingredient has been the club’s commercial nous and ability to convert its success into lucrative deals across dozens of industry sectors and national territories.
In contrast, while Real has blockbuster deals such as its reported billion euro agreement with Adidas, it has not leveraged its brand equity to the same extent as United, failing to pursue the same range of partnerships.
According to Brand Finance’s CEO, David Haigh, Real could perform significantly better in growth markets outside Europe too.
“Real Madrid enjoys significant popularity in the Middle East. Yet Brand Finance research into the vast Chinese market demonstrates that Real has a lot of work to do. It lags not just United but also Bayern Munich in popularity.”
Overall, Premier League clubs continue to lead the world when it comes to commercialising their brands, with six of the top ten most valuable football brands being English.
Title rivals Chelsea and Tottenham have recorded some of the biggest gains this year after successful seasons that saw Chelsea regain its status as England’s best, under dynamic new manager Antonio Conte.
Commercially, Chelsea stand to gain significantly through a reported £900 million, 15-year deal with Nike as well as from a near 50% increase to the capacity of Stamford Bridge. Tottenham is also expanding its home; the new White Hart Lane has been innovatively designed and will offer 61,000 spectators the opportunity to see Spurs on home turf. Tottenham’s brand value is up 58% on last year and Chelsea’s 61% to US$1.25 billion.
All Premier League teams continue to benefit from the vast revenues brought in by the latest broadcasting rights deal with Sky and BT. The relatively equitable split is particularly helpful to smaller clubs and helps to explain how a club such as Bournemouth (which joined the Premier League two years ago and comes from a town of just 180,000 inhabitants) controls a more valuable brand than much longer established European top tier clubs such as Olympique Lyonnais, Inter Milan, and AS Roma.
The costs of missing out on Premier League status are clear too. Another season in the Championship for Aston Villa and relegation for Sunderland see both drop out of this year’s list.
Sunderland’s loss has been Newcastle’s gain. The Magpies’ promotion will see revenues return and restore international exposure to the Tyneside club. As a result, brand value is up 92% to US$247 million, making Newcastle this year’s fastest growing brand.
Top 10 and their brand value (USD)
- Manchester United: $1.73 billion
- Real Madrid: $1.42 billion
- FC Barcelona: $1.42 billion
- Chelsea: $1.25 billion
- Bayern Munich: $1.22 billion
- Manchester City: $1.02 billion
- Paris St Germain: $1.01 billion
- Arsenal: $941 million
- Liverpool: $908 million
- Tottenham: $696 million
football business, manchester united, real madrid, barcelona, la liga, premier league