Manchester United, valued at US$853 million, remains the world’s most valuable football (soccer) brand, with Germany’s FC Bayern München moving from fourth to second place in the annual rankings of Brand Finance plc, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Man U’s ranking is due to a “solid performances on the pitch and great numbers on the income statement,” says Brand Finance.
Despite of losing the Champions League final and placing second only in both the Bundesliga and the German Cup, Munich enjoyed this year’s strongest growth, with a US$293 million increase in brand value that sees it take 2nd place from Real Madrid.
Chelsea FC’s Champion’s League triumph secures another season in Europe for the London club, but despite two trophies the club stays 5th due to a poor Premier League performance.
Manchester City is steadily climbing up the rankings, placed 8th this year, but despite nearly $1.5 billion of investment and a title win, it cannot yet challenge United’s accumulated brand equity.
It should be noted that these top soccer clubs have an estimated worth equal to or greater than the value of top U.S. pro sports franchises. The May 19 final of the European Champions League contested in Munich, Germany between Chelsea and Bayern Munich drew a TV audience approximately double what the NFL Super Bowl drew in February.
European leagues have no salary caps and many of the top clubs have spent enormous sums of money over the past 15 years trying to reach the top of European soccer. Many of these clubs are in a precarious state financially. Rangers FC of Glasgow, Scotland is one of the two traditional Scottish soccer giants (along with Celtic of Glasgow). This past season the team filed for bankruptcy because of its debt structure. It was penalized points in the league standings and may be forced to sell numerous players this summer. In England, several clubs are said to be in financial difficulty. It will be interesting to watch the upcoming player movement in the summer transfer market, one of two periods each year when clubs can buy and sell players still under contract. Follow the money and you can learn a lot about club management.
The 2012 Brand Finance Football 50 Club Rankings
Rank Rank Club Brand Value 2012 Brand Rating % change
1 1 Manchester United………853 AAA+ + 29%
2 4 Bayern München……….786 AAA + 59%
3 2 Real Madrid CF………….600 AAA+ – 7%
4 3 FC Barcelona…………….580 AAA+ – 8%
5 5 Chelsea FC………………..398 AA- + 27%
6 6 Arsenal FC……………….388 AA- + 29%
7 9 Liverpool FC…………….367 AA- + 47%
8 11 Manchester City FC……302 BBB+ + 77%
9 7 AC Milan…………………292 AA + 7%
10 12 FC Schalke 04………….266 BBB+ + 97%
The Sport Intern blog is published by Karl-Heinz Huba in Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached by email at ISMG@aol.com. This article is reprinted here, with minor additions, with the express permission of the publisher. Sport finance is one of the topic areas taught at the United States Sports Academy. For more information, go to http://ussa.edu.