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AC Milan: Brand Identity At the Centre of Growth

Brand Finance
06 June 2023

For the second year running, AC Milan is ranked as the fastest growing brand amongst the top 50 football clubs globally: After winning the League last year, this year the club reached the semi-final of the Champions League and, despite the defeat against Inter, continued to increase the value of its brand through commercial activities, with further sponsorship agreements and record matchday revenues. Moreover, there is another aspect to consider: the gradual resurgence of AC Milan as a competitive force in European football, which is precisely what the Rossoneri, alongside perhaps only Real Madrid, symbolise for fans globally.

AC Milan have clearly put brand identity at the centre of its growth plan since 2019, leveraging on its legacy as a highly competitive club with one of the largest and most devoted fan bases in the world. However, there is a difference compared to the Berlusconi AC Milan: this time the club is looking for a path of sustainable growth, without the great expenses of the past that characterised the Berlusconi era. Growth takes time and skill, which the club’s management have clearly demonstrated.

This medium-long term policy is paying off both in terms of sporting results and appeal towards sponsors. Further, aspects relating to governance and financial sustainability should not be underestimated: The Rossoneri club is in line to close the 2022/2023 financial year in profit. The first six months of the season were closed with a surplus of 9.8 million euros at a statutory level, compared to a loss of 12.2 million as of 31 December 2021. We'll see if in fact the balance sheet will return to profit after 17 years. All of this combined: improved on-pitch performance, stadium and ticketing revenues, sponsorship and merchandising revenues and prudent spending have meant that this year, with a 33% growth, the value of the AC Milan brand reaches 358 million Euros: the highest value ever reached since 2010.

This year, AC Milan's Brand Strength has strengthened by 4 points growing from a BSI score of 77 /100 to 81 / 100. This jump, the largest among the top 50 clubs, is driven by strong matchday experience, improved sporting performance at European level, increased appeal to sponsors and broadcasters, as well as significantly improved financial performance. Among the strengths that give AC Milan a uniqueness compared to other Italian clubs, we see its excellent reputation, a metric on which the Rossoneri have an important competitive advantage: ambition, heritage, and an enormous global following that few other clubs match.

In the summer of 2018, Milan underwent a change in ownership, transitioning to the Elliott fund. This marked the beginning of a positive trajectory for the club, aimed at recovering and revitalizing its operations after a period of financial challenges.

The arrival of RedBird in the 2021/22 season, and a new CEO Giorgio Furlani, has further accelerated this progress, propelling Milan into a phase of growth and development.

Through investments in various aspects such as organisation, personnel, talent, infrastructure, and technology, the Rossoneri have successfully generated new revenue streams and unlocked the vast potential of the Milan brand, which boasts a global fanbase exceeding 500 million.

The club places particular emphasis on catering to the demands of the younger generation of fans, who seek novel and captivating experiences beyond the confines of the football pitch.

Further, noteworthy collaborations with national and international partners, such as the partnership with the New York Yankees, have merged two iconic sports brands, while the collaboration with Off-White as the Style Partner and Curator of the Rossoneri club has been emblematic.

These collaborations have allowed Milan to explore and solidify its presence at the crossroads of various industries, including fashion, music, digital, and lifestyle, thereby setting new trends and propelling the entire sport-entertainment sector to new heights.

The club's commitment to innovation and digitalisation is evident through initiatives like "The Studios," an innovative hub for producing and disseminating multimedia content, establishing Milan as a key player in the evolution of the international sport-entertainment sector.

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.