Back in 1872, when the FA Cup – the oldest national football competition – was first held, players did not receive any payment, football clubs were merely local associations, and the concept of football brands did not exist.
Fast forward 150 years and numerous football clubs now hold the same level of worldwide recognition as popular consumer names like Apple or Coca-Cola. Furthermore, they have fostered a tremendous amount of loyalty from supporters belonging to diverse backgrounds.
Brand Finance, a well-known brand valuation and strategy consultancy, has released a list of the world’s 50 most valuable football club brands. Aside from their on-pitch performance, these clubs are also competing as football brands, with their characteristics holding significant financial worth.
Which Football Club Has the Most Valuable Brand?
In 2023, the most valuable football brand was the English Premier League’s Manchester City FC, with a worth of $1.56 billion.
In the past year, the club’s brand value has increased by 13.5%, which is a clear indication of its continuous and recent achievements in both domestic and international competitions. The club has impressively clinched the Premier League title seven times since 2011. Moreover, in 2023, the club made history by winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup in a single season, which is an incredible feat.
Check out the list of the 50 highest valued football club brands in the world, ranked in millions of USD.
|1||Manchester City FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,562||+13.50%|
|2||Real Madrid CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$1,513||-14.40%|
|3||FC Barcelona||🇪🇸 Spain||$1,425||-7.20%|
|4||Manchester United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,412||-2.60%|
|5||Liverpool FC||🇬🇧 UK||$1,411||-4.40%|
|6||Paris Saint-Germain||🇫🇷 France||$1,174||-1.40%|
|7||FC Bayern Munich||🇩🇪 Germany||$1,140||-11.30%|
|8||Arsenal FC||🇬🇧 UK||$940||+0.02%|
|9||Tottenham Hotspur FC||🇬🇧 UK||$931||-8.00%|
|10||Chelsea FC||🇬🇧 UK||$893||-9.90%|
|11||Juventus FC||🇮🇹 Italy||$655||-19.90%|
|12||Club Atletico de Madrid||🇪🇸 Spain||$570||-15.10%|
|13||Borussia Dortmund||🇩🇪 Germany||$562||-6.30%|
|14||FC Internazionale Milano||🇮🇹 Italy||$528||-8.00%|
|15||AC Milan||🇮🇹 Italy||$371||+0.19%|
|16||West Ham United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$320||-6.40%|
|17||Newcastle United FC||🇬🇧 UK||$259||+0.17%|
|18||SSC Napoli||🇮🇹 Italy||$249||+0.18%|
|19||RasenBallsport Leipzig||🇩🇪 Germany||$231||-18.40%|
|20||Aston Villa FC||🇬🇧 UK||$222||+0.04%|
|21||AS Roma||🇮🇹 Italy||$212||+0.01%|
|22||Eintracht Frankfurt||🇩🇪 Germany||$210||-5.40%|
|23||Everton FC||🇬🇧 UK||$205||-13.60%|
|24||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||🇩🇪 Germany||$202||-8.00%|
|25||Sevilla FC||🇪🇸 Spain||$196||-5.10%|
Hove Albion FC
|27||Leicester City||🇬🇧 UK||$187||-40.70%|
|28||Olympique De Marseille||🇫🇷 France||$179||+0.07%|
|29||Crystal Palace||🇬🇧 UK||$174||-1.70%|
|30||AFC Ajax||🇳🇱 Netherlands||$172||-18.90%|
|31||Olympique Lyonnais||🇫🇷 France||$166||-6.90%|
|32||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||🇬🇧 UK||$166||-29.80%|
|33||Leeds United||🇬🇧 UK||$160||-25.60%|
|34||Real Betis||🇪🇸 Spain||$159||+0.17%|
|35||Borussia Monchengladbach||🇩🇪 Germany||$157||-18.80%|
|36||Villarreal CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$143||-6.30%|
|37||Real Sociedad||🇪🇸 Spain||$139||N/A|
|38||VfL Wolfsburg||🇩🇪 Germany||$128||-34.90%|
|39||1.FC Koln||🇩🇪 Germany||$125||-3.30%|
|40||SC Freiburg||🇩🇪 Germany||$125||N/A|
|41||SL Benfica||🇵🇹 Portugal||$123||+0.05%|
|42||Celtic FC||🇬🇧 UK||$118||-9.70%|
|43||Brentford FC||🇬🇧 UK||$118||N/A|
|44||Athletic de Bilbao||🇪🇸 Spain||$117||-23.50%|
|45||SS Lazio SpA||🇮🇹 Italy||$116||N/A|
|46||1.FC Union Berlin||🇩🇪 Germany||$112||N/A|
|47||Valencia CF||🇪🇸 Spain||$112||-38.70%|
|48||FC Porto||🇵🇹 Portugal||$105||N/A|
|49||Fulham FC||🇬🇧 UK||$104||N/A|
|50||CR Flamengo||🇧🇷 Brazil||$102||-8.80%|
Real Madrid CF, a prominent football club from Spain, is currently valued at slightly over $1.5 billion, which is just a notch above the valuation of City. However, the brand has seen a decline of 14% in the past year. This could be attributed to the club’s loss of both their domestic league and European championship titles in the current season, which has led to a decrease in their brand value in 2023.
In Spain’s Catalonian region, FC Barcelona maintains its brand as the third most valuable, with a worth of $1.4 billion. The club, along with other Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, dominates La Liga, the nation’s domestic league, with a combined 62 championship wins in the 94 years since its establishment.
In the 2000s, the rivalry between football clubs gained a new level of intensity with the presence of two of the world’s most famous personalities, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. These two players are widely recognized as some of the greatest to have ever played the game, adding even more excitement to the competition.
Over the past five years, despite the departures of Messi and Ronaldo, the brands of Barcelona and Real Madrid have remained strong. Both clubs have continuously secured places in the top five of the most valuable football club brands since 2013.
Four additional club brands have surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark:
- Manchester United FC, England, ($1.41 billion)
- Liverpool FC, England ($1.41 billion)
- Paris Saint-Germain, France ($1.17 billion)
- FC Bayern Munich, Germany ($1.14 billion)
Countries with the Most Valuable Football Brands
In terms of regional distribution, England boasts the highest number of high-value football club brands with 18, followed by Scotland’s Celtic FC as the only exception outside of England.
Germany (10) and Spain (9) follow the UK as the countries with the most high-valued football club brands. Together, these top three countries make up almost three quarters of the world’s most valuable football club brands.
Europe dominates the football market with 49 out of the 50 listed clubs hailing from the continent. This impressive feat highlights the strength of European football. The only non-European team to make the list is CR Flamengo from Brazil.
What’s in a Brand?
A football club’s brand value may not be equivalent to its overall value, but having a robust brand can significantly impact its financial success and overall worth.
Manchester United, despite not being able to match its former glory days on the field since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, still maintains its position as a commercial powerhouse. In fact, the club had the fourth-highest jersey sales in 2021, proving its enduring popularity among fans.
Al-Nassr, a Saudi Arabian club, experienced a surge in visits to its merchandise store by 300% after signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
As we gear up for the upcoming football season, it will be intriguing to witness the shifts in the rankings of the most valuable football brands in the coming year.
Source: Brand Finance’s 2023 Football 50 Report.