According to Brand Finance’s report ‘The Brand Finance® Football 50 2013’, Bayern Munich has surpassed Manchester United to become ‘the most valuable football brand of 2013’. Manchester United was no. 1 in 2012 in front of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea. In this year’s top 5, the only change is that Bayern Munich and Manchester United switched places so that Bayern Munich took over the no. 1 spot from Manchester United. Brand Finance applied a long-term perspective in assessing whether or not Bayern Munich or Manchester United proved to be the strongest. Alex Ferguson (legengary and very successful manager) and David Gill (CEO) left Manchester United and there are question marks in relation to players like Wayne Rooney and the new manager David Moyes, which raise the question of whether or not Manchester United will be able to recover from this level of uncertainty.
Top 10 football brands 2013 (source: Brand Finance, 2013)
The German clubs have been doing extremely well and growing rapidly in recent years. They have a very good and sustainable management model (including the 50 +1 rule reflecting a democratic ownership structure preventing the clubs from being bought by foreign billionaires). Clubs in Germany are taking good care of their fans, even at the grassroot level. They are not charging too much for tickets and they have the highest average attendance numbers in European club football. The German clubs also reflect a high level of fan identification via a high level of season ticket holders.
Teams in England have paid extremely high amounts of money to their players, which go beyond normal business sense. On the other hand, German teams apply a model, where salaries to a higher extent are kept under control. Bayern Munich has been a strong domestic team for many years but in alignment with its sponsors the club has done well in terms of planning for the long-term and going global. This is a strong development when combined with fair ticket pricing and a relative low salary level. Bayern Munich’s recent success in the UEFA Champions League is also a parameter, which makes the club capable of taking over the no. 1 position from Manchester United. At this level, you cannot underestimate the significance of sporting success at the most important European scene, i.e. the UEFA Champions League. It gives access to more fans globally.
Brand Finance. (2013)
“Brand strength analysis benchmarks the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors.
This takes into account financial metrics such as revenue mix, revenue growth, football specific marketing metrics – including number of domestic/global honours, squad value, club heritage, UEFA coefficient ranking and average attendance and stadia utilisation amongst others.
Brands are then awarded a brand rating, a letter grade, similar to a credit rating from AAA+ to D. Having been determined based on the brand strength, the royalty rate is then applied to revenue figures to determine the brand value.” (Brand Finance, 2013) – see the entire top 50, click here.