Bayern Munich Overtake Manchester United in Annual Brand-Value Ranking

Jerrad Peters@@jerradpetersWorld Football Staff WriterMay 29, 2013

Bayern Munich wrapped up the Bundesliga title in record time, lifted the European Cup last weekend and now, according to a London-based agency, are world football’s most valuable brand.

In an annual study published by Brand Finance, Bayern Munich’s brand value hit $860 million this season, taking them above former No. 1 Manchester United, who saw their valuation decrease two per cent to $837 million.

Citing a “truncated European campaign” and “uncertainty” following the exit of long-time manager Sir Alex Ferguson, commercial magazine FC Business added that “United’s loss of the top spot may prove temporary, but to reclaim the title David Moyes must rapidly prove he can sustain his predecessor’s success.”

In arriving at its findings, Brand Finance evaluates a club’s revenue mix, revenue growth and football-specific marketing metrics, such as silverware, squad value, club heritage, continental coefficient and average attendance.

They define “brand value” as “the cost that a third party would have to pay to license the use of a brand.”

The Brand Finance study differs from the annual Forbes ranking, which publishes a list of the most valuable club properties in sports.

In January 2013, Forbes estimated Manchester United to be worth about $3.3 billion—nearly 36 per cent more than the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys—and in another Forbes study released in March, Real Madrid were also shown to have surpassed the $3 billion mark, with Bayern Munich ranked fifth at $1.3 billion.

But impressive balance sheets and a “growing reputation for quality football” has seen Bayern’s brand value skyrocket, according to Brand Finance, and even Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund managed to crack the ranking’s top-10 with a brand value of $260 million—a 15 per cent rise on last season.

“Bayern Munich is still very much a story of domestic dominance,” remarked Dave Chattaway, Brand Finance’s head of sports valuation, in an interview with FC Business. “However, its continued presence in the Champions League has provided the club with access to a global audience.”

Real Madrid and Barcelona slotted in at third and fourth place, respectively, in the ranking, while Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City found themselves at fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

Brazilian giants Corinthians, who defeated Chelsea in the final of the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, are the most valuable brand outside Europe, according to the findings, with a value of $103 million—more than the likes of Lyon, PSG, Roma and Everton.

The full Brand Finance list can be found here.