Real Madrid have topped Brand Finance’s rankings as football's most valuable club for the first time in nine years. The combination of commercial revenues and on-the-pitch success in the UEFA Champions League has propelled Los Blancos to the apex of the value pyramid.
The Spanish giants' brand value increased by 26.9 per cent from 2018 to 2019 and is now worth more than €1.6 billion (£1.4bn/$1.79bn). This is despite a disappointing season on the pitch following the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last season.
Madrid received €70 million (£61m/$78m) from sponsors Emirates and €110 million (£96m/$123m) from Adidas, whilst their matchday revenues totalled €143 million (£125m/$160m).
Bryn Anderson, Brand Finance director, said: “Real Madrid have shown this year who truly reigns supreme in the world of football. They triumph not only as the most valuable and strongest brand but their enterprise value and stadium are also ranked second to none.”
Brand Finance’s methodology takes in factors such as matchday revenue, broadcast revenue and commercial revenue. It then produces a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100 and uses this to extrapolate future revenue estimations using royalty rates.
Despite Madrid’s BSI actually dropping from 96.2 to 95.5, the club were able to overtake Manchester United as the 20-time English champions’ brand value fell 5.8 per cent year-on-year.
Manchester United have experienced a tumultuous existence since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, going through four managers in six years.
The poor performances on the pitch and lack of exposure from not playing regularly in the UEFA Champions League have seen public perceptions of the brand drop.
Wolves skyrocketed into the top 50, coming in at 28th as a new entry. The club were only promoted to the Premier League at the start of the 2018-19 season, but an excellent season on the pitch has seen their value boosted.
Chinese owners Fosun and strong links to agent Jorge Mendes have afforded the club a wider global reach.
United and Wolves are just two of the 17 Premier League clubs in the top 50, making it the most represented league in the rankings. This is largely in part due to the broadcasting revenues that are paid to English clubs compared to other European leagues.
In 2017, Premier League clubs split a broadcasting purse of €2.9 billion (£2.5bn/$3.2bn) between its 20 teams. La Liga only had €1.2 billion (£1.05bn/$1.34bn) in comparison.
The Premier League also saw a 6.9 per cent increase in brand value, ensuring it sat atop the ranking for yet another year. La Liga overtook the Bundesliga after a 23.3 per cent growth but still sit nearly €5 billion (£4.4bn/$5.6bn) behind the Premier League in value.
Spanish top flight club Sevilla saw their brand value increase by 49.1 per cent, the greatest single increase by any club year-on-year.