Manchester United has been ranked as the most valuable sporting team in the world, according to the findings of a new report.
Analysis from advisory firm Brand Finance shows that United’s brand value has more than doubled since the Glazers bought the club.
According to the report, published in The Times, United’s brand value has risen from £197 million in 2005 to £412 million. Indeed, United is now said to stand sixth in the list of the most recognisable brands in the world, behind only Google, Apple, the BBC, Dyson and Facebook. In the same survey Chelsea are placed 54th, Arsenal 160th and Liverpool 171st.
Brand Finance says the Glazer family has applied National Football League (NFL) marketing experience – from its ownership of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – to United, utilising a policy of “on field performance underpins financial success”. Dave Chattaway, head of sports brand valuation for Brand Finance, said.
There is no doubt that the marketing push by the Glazers has dazzled brand specialists. This year United were asked to join M50, an invitation-only body for the 50 most powerful global brands. The Glazers have spent more than £40m in devising and executing a commercial strategy that has yielded a tenfold return with more than £400m generated from over 100 commercial contracts. A two person operation in Manchester has been replaced by a team of 45 working out of a London office.
A survey by TNS Sport in 2006-07 that interviewed 28,000 people in 21 countries reported that United had 333 million followers worldwide, 192 million of whom were in Asia. United have commercial partnerships with more than 45 countries in Asia and TNS is now updating its findings.
A separate survey by Futures Sport and Entertainment concluded that United generated 4.2 billion television viewers worldwide last season. That equates to a NFL Super Bowl worth of viewing figures every seven days and means that more people watch United globally than the whole sport of Formula One.