Last December, when I interviewed John Dykes, the famous ESPN pundit, I asked him why he thinks Manchester United would be able to attract big names in world football, even if they fail to qualify for the Champions League (just a probability, as we all know United will play Champions League next season) he replied:
“Manchester United are such a unique proposition, they are such a powerful commercial entity, so they have such an incredible aura about them.”
Indeed, they have an incredible aura about them. And probably that’s why they are such a huge global brand. In fact, they have become the world’s first billion-dollar footballing brand, ahead of big European clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid.
According to reports from The Brands Finance List, which measures a team’s ‘brand power’, Manchester United tops the list with $1206m brand value, despite going through two trophy-less seasons at Old Trafford.
Barcelona have the strongest brand of any club, rated AAA+ by Brand finance. It is obvious. The Catalan club are the most successful of all European clubs in the past decade, winning their fourth European Cup aka Champions League trophy in last nine seasons.
Lionel Messi, arguably the world’s best football has been playing for Blaugrana since childhood while popular stars like Luis Suarez and Neymar adds to their brand value. But ‘brand strength’ only reflects the notional potential of the brand. It is the business power that has taken Manchester United ahead of everyone.
United’s mega shirt deal with Chevrolet and record breaking Adidas Kit deal shows they are simply unrivalled when it comes to the business aspect of the game. Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all benefitted due the new Premier League TV deals and all feature in the top 10 list.
Top 10: The Brands Finance List
1) Manchester United – $1206m 2) Bayern Munich – $933m 3) Real Madrid – $873m 4) Manchester City – $800m 5) Chelsea – $795m 6) Barcelona – $773m 7) Arsenal – $703m 8) Liverpool – $577m 9) PSG – $541M 10) Tottenham – $360m