Real Madrid have topped the 2021 Brand Finance list as the most valuable football club brand in the world for a third straight year.
Despite suffering a 10% drop in its brand value, the Spanish giants head the world rankings with a €1.27 billion valuation, ahead of La Liga rivals Barcelona who are valued at €1.26bn.
“This consistent influx of Champions League revenue and status has played a central role in the club’s overall success.”
Six of the top 10 ranked clubs in the Football 50 2021 report are Premier League outfits. Manchester United are third in the rankings and are England’s most valuable brand club at €1.13bn, just 1% higher in brand value than Premier League champions Manchester City (€1.19bn), who are fourth overall.
United suffered a 14% decline in brand value this year.
The failed European Super League project has negatively impacted the brand strength of the 12 founding clubs, eight of which are in the top 10 on the list. The ESL controversy knocked €600 million off brand values.
Nine of the 12 Super League clubs have formally renounced the breakaway league and committed to the existing European competitions, but they will have to give up 5% of UEFA revenue for one season.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have refused to approve the “reintegration measures” and will be referred to UEFA disciplinary bodies for sanctions.
“The origin and demise of the European Super League is a story of branding,” Brand Finance head of sports Hugo Hensley said.
“The 12 clubs considered their brands too strong and attractive to be sanctioned by other associations, and above the footballing pyramid that validates their success. However, the communication, promotion, and positioning of the project was poorly executed, fuelling a backlash from all stakeholders, leading to the dissolution of the group, and resulting in painful brand damage.”
Bayern Munich (€1.06bn), who did not take part in the ESL, climbed to fifth place and was given a brand strength score of 91.9 out of 100.
The adverse impact of COVID-19 has seen an overall brand value drop of 11.2% of the top 50 clubs’ brands this year with respect to the 2.2% drop last year.