Manchester United's brand 'devalued' by weak season

Louis Van Gaal (l) and Robin Van Persie Manchester United will be hoping that new coach Louis Van Gaal can reverse the club's fortunes

The value of the Manchester United brand has been damaged by a disappointing season according to a study by consultancy Brand Finance.

They say United's brand is worth $739m (£439m), down $98m on last year.

That makes it the third most valuable football brand after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Real Madrid's victory in the Champions League final on Saturday helped boost its brand value. The club already has the biggest sales of any football club.

'Solid footing'

The authors say an improvement in the Spanish economy could help the club retain the top brand spot.

And they add that "with arguably the finest player in the world in the shape of Ronaldo" and now a first Champions League title since 2002, "Real's brand is back on a solid footing".

Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid win their 10th European Cup as they finally overcame neighbours Atletico Madrid in a compelling Champions League final in Lisbon.

Real Madrid players celebrate Real Madrid is second in the branding table behind German giants Bayern Munich

But despite Real's strong season, Bayern Munich has the most valuable brand in football for the second year running according to the report.

The authors point to the Bavarian club's record points haul in winning the Bundesliga title in the 2013-14 season.

English clubs Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are placed from fifth to eighth most valuable.

United revival?

Manchester United will be hoping the appointment of Louis van Gaal will reverse its fortunes both on and off the pitch next season.

Speaking on Dutch TV station RTL last week, Mr Van Gaal said his immediate objectives were to return United to "number one spot" as soon as possible, and that fans "will think they are champions of England again within a year".

The Brand Finance report said that "shrewd commercial management" has shielded Manchester United's brand from more serious damage.

"However, another season in the wilderness, outside the Champions League, will see brand value truly plunge, and leave few sponsors willing to do a deal with the [Red] Devils," the report said.

For the three months to the end of March, Manchester United reported profits of £11m, up from £3.6m a year ago. The club also posted record revenues of £115.5m for the period.

Brand Finance defines brand value as the cost another party would have to pay to license the use of a brand.

To calculate that cost the consultancy looked at a range of factors, including the mix of revenue, value of squad, and club heritage.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    I earn well (touch wood) but how can anyone pay £40 or £80 pounds for a Tshirt made out of synthetic material just because it has a name of a football club printed on it is completely beyond my understanding. If you buy stuff like this, don't be at all surprised that football has become a multinational business with you priced out of it - you yourself have made it so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    The fact Man Utd is being described as a brand speaks volumes of just how soulless football has become in some quarters. Thank goodness the club still has a lot of real supporters to offset the plastics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    For a long time now football has been ruled by big business. It's they who decide kick of times, dictate ticket prices things will only get worse ordinary fans will be priced out of the game, we have already seen this with families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Manchester United is NOT a brand it is the most passionately supported football club in the world. I care not for lost marketing opportunities just that the behaviour of the owners and chief executives has damaged our reputation and performance. One of the main reasons I was so against the American take over in the first place was that they would treat UTD this way NOT the way a supporter does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Goodness, and I thought it was all about playing sport - how silly of me.


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