Bayern Munich Crowned World’s Strongest Football Brand

Bayern Munich

Failed European Super League project adversely impacts founding clubs’ brand strength and knocks €600 million off-brand values.

Unaffected by the ESL fiasco, Bayern Munich claims the title of the world’s strongest football brand, with an elite AAA+ brand rating, and tops ranking for enterprise value for the first time, standing at €3,606 million.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United maintain positions as the world’s most valuable football club brands ranking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in Brand Finance Football 50 2021.

Bayern Munich

Manchester City hot on heels of rivals Manchester United, now only 1% lower in brand value. Clubs hoping to sack COVID-19 in 21/22 season and reopen doors to fans, as the total brand value falls 11.2% on weaker revenue.

English clubs represent 43% of the total brand value within the top 50, with several German, Spanish, Italian, French clubs and sole representatives from the Netherlands, Russia, and Portugal featuring too. No representation from outside Europe.

Gazprom supplying Zenit St Petersburg with energy as a Russian outfit boasts the highest brand value growth in ranking, up 35% and jumping from 49th to 33rd spot.

The failed European Super League (ESL) project has dented the brand strength of the 12 founding clubs and knocked over €600 million off their total brand value, according to the latest Brand Finance Football 50 report, which ranks the top 50 most valuable and strongest football club brands in the world every year.

As well as damaging the strength of the 12 founding clubs’ brands, the ESL proposal has also knocked €606 million off the total brand value of the clubs, equating to a 6% year on year decrease. Weaker brands see reduced forecasts for their commercial and sponsorship success.

Hugo Hensley, Head of Sports Services, Brand Finance, commented:

“The origin and demise of the European Super League is a story of branding – 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 were poorly executed, fuelling a backlash from all stakeholders, leading to the dissolution of the group, and resulting in painful brand damage.”

Bayern takes the lead in brand strength and enterprise value

Unaffected by the ESL fiasco, and thus avoiding the disastrous damage, Bayern Munich has claimed the title of the world’s strongest football club brand this year, with a brand strength score of 91.9 out of 100 and the corresponding elite AAA+ rating.

Bayern’s performance has been unrivalled over the past year, winning the sextuplet of the Bundesliga, DFB Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, and DFL Super Cup ultimately leading them to be named the Laureus World Team of the Year for 2021. They are the first team ever to lift the Champions League with a 100% record, which included an 8-2 win over Barcelona.

Bayern’s leading brand strength score has contributed to an increase in brand value to €1,068 million and climbing up to 5th position overall in the ranking. The club’s enterprise value has also rocketed up by nearly €300 million to €3,606 million, allowing them to take the crown in that ranking too, recording an 8% increase year-on-year.

Sometimes it pays off to be the nice guy with Bayern leading the figures for commercial revenue generation of any football team at €360.5 million, a key contributing factor to the year-on-year increase in enterprise value. Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City round up the top five for enterprise value.

Hugo Hensley, Head of Sports Services, Brand Finance, commented:

“The German 50+1% supporter shareholding model means that the fan is respected as the ultimate stakeholder. This has kept Bayern Munich out of the European Super League fiasco, while on-pitch performance has further boosted the brand’s strength. This is a positive signal for future sponsorship performance, and Bayern is already the football club with highest commercial revenue in the world – these factors all come together to boost brand and business value.”

LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona retain gold and silver

Real Madrid remains the most valuable football club brand in the world for the third consecutive year, despite recording a 10% brand value decline to €1,276 million. The club still maintains a slight lead ahead of fierce rivals Barcelona in the second spot, with a brand value of €1,266 million, also declining by 10% this year.

While the LaLiga giants remain on the podium for 2021, it has now been three years since a Spanish club has reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, with the last appearance being Real Madrid’s victory over Liverpool in 2018.

Despite this, both Spanish clubs have consistently been able to secure Champions League qualification year after year, with the last time either club failed to reach the group’s stages now more than 20 years ago. This consistent influx of Champions League revenues and status has played a central role in both clubs’ overall success.