Man Utd no longer world’s top football brand says research

MANCHESTER United has been knocked off its perch as the world’s most valuable football brand, it emerged today.

An annual study, from brand valuation agency Brand Finance, reveals that United has been eclipsed by the new Champions League winners Bayern Munich, which last year was second to the Manchester club.

Brand Finance said Bayern Munich’s impressive financial results  and a growing international reputation for quality football had seen Bayern’s brand value increase 9% this year to $860m.

Despite United’s legions of international fans and reclamation of the Premier League title, a disappointing European campaign and an uncertain future following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure sees the club’s brand value fall 2% from $853m to $837m.

Although a German team is now ranked number one, English teams have the overall highest brand value $3.1bn in the BrandFinance Football 50.

Inside the top 10 Liverpool retained 7th place  despite a 2% fall and is said to be worth $361m. Manchester City also retained its position, 8th, but saw its brand value rise 10% in the year to $332m.

Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh said: “The commercial transformation of the English game, which has created hugely successful global brands, had been seen as the model to emulate. However the escalation of player wages, poor financial management and alienation of grass roots fans has left many people jaded.

“In contrast the cheap tickets, high attendances, democratic ownership structure and financial prudence of the Bundesliga now looks like an attractive alternative, particularly now it is delivering world-beating, fluid football rather than the more workmanlike style German teams had been known for.

“Just as British politicians and business journalists have long been calling for our economy to emulate the German Mittelstand, now sports commentators are wondering whether we can learn from the Bundesliga.”