Manchester United is the world’s most valuable football brand, replacing Bayern Munich, according to a report from consultancy Brand Finance.
From third in the previous analysis, United leapfrogged Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, both beaten Champions League semi-finalists, to regain top spot even though they missed out on European football altogether in the 2013-14 campaign. Madrid have also been pipped to top spot in a separate Brand Power ranking, this time by rivals Barcelona.
Despite winning no trophies again last season the Old Trafford club’s brand is estimated to be worth $1.2bn (£789m).
Six of the top 10 most valuable club brands were English.
Barcelona, who won the Champions League final on Saturday, slipped two places from last year to sixth most valuable club, worth $773m.
A recent report in Spanish newspaper Sport had suggested that Man Utd’s global fan base had fallen because of its couple of barren seasons.
But the Brand Finance report said: “Even if recent reports of fan losses are to be believed, United retains legions of followers in India, South East Asia and China, contributing to a total of over half a billion individuals and the news certainly does not appear to have deterred sponsors.”
They point to the club’s lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet and “record breaking” kit supply deal with Adidas, which was signed in 2014 and is worth £750m to United over 10 years.
They added that “the huge windfalls that Man Utd can expect, will see both revenues and brand value continue to increase in the coming years”.
They also say that the club’s brand value has increased by 63% since 2014.
“The most critical success factor in the Manchester United brand’s renewed financial potency has been this year’s record-breaking, £5.1bn deal for the UK broadcast rights of the Premier League.”
Bayern slipped to second in the football brand table, with Real Madrid third, and Paris St-Germain in ninth. There were no Italian clubs in the top 10.
United first claimed top spot in the Brand Value stakes in 2009 after winning the Champions League a year previously, and recorded their previous highest brand value of $853m in 2012 following success in the Premier League and second place in Europe’s top club competition.