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The World’s Most Valuable Football Brands

26 May 2014
This article is more than 9 years old.

Bayern Still on Top but Real Relegates Man United To Third
The Brand Finance Football 50, released today, is an annual study conducted by leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. Football’s biggest clubs are put to the test to determine which command the most powerful and valuable brands.

For several years Manchester United held sway as football’s most valuable brand. However in 2013, Brand Finance anticipated the likely dip in performance and prestige resulting from Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, allowing Bayern Munich to claim the top spot. With just such a nightmare season having come to pass this year, United’s value has fallen further; the 2014 brand value of $739m is down $98m on last year, its AAA+ brand rating has slipped to AAA and it has fallen into 3rd place as Real reaps the rewards of Champions League victory.

To view the table online, click here. Hover over the ‘I’ button for alternative currencies.
Bayern Still at the Top

Bayern Munich retains its title, with a brand value of $896m. Domestic dominance has kept Bayern in pole position; Pep Guardiola has steered the club to another Bundesliga title (with a record points haul) as well as DFB-Pokal victory over Dortmund. An aggregate 5-0 loss following a pummeling from Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions league semi final was the only downside to an otherwise stunningly successful season. President Uli Hoeness’s conviction for tax evasion has also taken a little of the shine off the Bayern brand. Only an appreciation in the value of the euro this year has seen the dollar brand value increase.

Real Back on Form

Real Madrid once held sway as the world’s most valuable football club brand with legions of followers the world over. Devotion is such that El Clásico serves as a proxy for political rivalries not just in Catalonia but as far afield as Iraq.

The Euro crisis and Spain’s economic woes contributed to Real’s fall first to second and then third in the Brand Finance Football 50. However revenues remain huge across all three income streams (matchday, broadcasting and commercial) and Spain’s economic outlook is improving. With arguably the finest player in the world in the shape of Ronaldo and now a first Champions League title in ten years, Real’s brand is back on a solid footing.

Real’s AAA+ brand rating remains secure while brand value is up $147m to a total of $768m, the third biggest increase of any club this year. Most significantly, Real has overtaken Manchester United, leading all Premier League Clubs for the first time since 2010. With the highest revenues of any club and the most robust brand, a continuing improvement in the Spanish economy could see Real rapidly reclaim its status as the world’s most valuable football brand.

Unlucky Number 7

United’s 7th place Premier League finish means Chevrolet has had to put the brakes on its plans to use sponsorship of the club as a way to push its brand in Europe. It has decided to pull the brand out of the continent altogether from 2015. “For now, the brand equity founded on years of glory, shrewd commercial management and stewardship of the brand is shielding United from a more dramatic drop. However another season in the wilderness, outside the Champions League, will see brand value truly plunge, and leave few sponsors willing to do a deal with the Devils” commented Brand Finance’s Head of Sports, Dave Chattaway.

The balance of power at the top of the English game is shifting decisively to the blue side of Manchester. City has won the title for the second time in three years and won two trophies just this season. On pitch success is rapidly building the value of the brand; following 53% growth, City’s brand value now stands at over half a billion dollars. Provided it can navigate further significant sanctions for breaches of financial fair play regulations and manage with a restricted squad in Europe, City’s brand could soon be a far more enticing prospect than United’s for sponsors and fickle international fans. Indeed City’s owners are already expanding the brand internationally. In a partnership with the New York Yankees, the New York City MLS franchise was launched last year, incorporating both the ‘city’ name and the same, light blue livery. Melbourne Heart was purchased in January this year with a similar expansion in mind.

At the opposite end of the table, Fulham’s demotion to the Championship has cost it dearly; a 36% brand value drop is the fastest of any club in the top 50. Now in 50th, anything other than promotion next year will see Fulham drop out of the Brand Finance Football 50 for some time to come.

Marque de Triomphe

PSG is this year’s biggest winner. Paris Saint-Germain is beginning to escape the confines of Ligue 1 to become a truly global brand; its brand value has almost quadrupled in a year, up from $85m to $324m (£193m), which sees the club enter the top 10 of the Brand Finance 50 for the first time.

The relative indifference of international audiences to French football (in contrast to the Budesliga, Premier League or La Liga) has limited the potential of French clubs to build their brands. PSG’s phenomenal success since its purchase by the Qatar Investment Authority has forced the world to take notice however. Two successive Ligue 1 titles, a Coupe de la Ligue and greater security of Champions League football than almost any other club in Europe have made PSG impossible to ignore. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 30 goal haul has reinforced his position as one of the game’s most respected players, which has translated into significant shirt sales. Though television revenues still lag those of Premier League clubs, an extension of its partnership with Nike, a continuing relationship with the game’s most prominent shirt sponsor Emirates and a new deal with Chinese tech giant Huawei all attest to the growing power and value of the PSG brand.

Football’s Centres of Rivalry – Milan, Manchester and now Madrid

Despite missing out on the Champions League title Atletico’s brand value has also surged; it has nearly doubled from $67m last year to $126m in 2014. Brand Finance has also upgraded Atletico’s brand rating from AA- to AAA-. Victory in La Liga and a stunning Champions League run has broken the duopoly Real and Barca once held over Spanish football and has established Madrid as one of the great cities of footballing rivalry along with Manchester and Milan.

Atletico doesn’t just represent its home city however. It has also put its sponsor Azerbaijan on the map. ‘The land of fire’ oil rich Azerbaijan is not the first country to use football for political and diplomatic purposes. PSG and Man City have benefitted from the wealth of Qatar and Abu Dhabi respectively and have in turn helped to build their nation brands. However Atletico has achieved similar feats for Azerbaijan in just one season and at a fraction of the cost.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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