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How broadcast deals and kit sponsorships are determining success in football more than performances

Despite the prolonged period of under whelming performances on the pitch, Manchester United’s marketing and sponsorship activities have helped ensure that the club leads the way in the fiercely competitive brand value rankings.

Brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance has revealed that the Premier League outfit have once again finished top of its brand valuation table.

The results have been calculated by combining brand strength with revenue data across three major streams; commercial, broadcasting and match day.

The annual Brand Finance Football 50 results show Manchester United as having a brand worth of £793m while Champions League winners Real Madrid finished in second place, just £22m behind United.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from the club many could argue that the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ has offered little more than a mid-week matinee, however the waning performance of the team has done little to dent the club’s brand value dominance over its more successful European counterparts.

The reason for United’s position at the top can be largely attributed to the Premier League’s lucrative new broadcast deal with Sky and BT Sport. The contract is a 71 per cent increase on the previous period and will massively boost the brand value of the English top flight’s clubs over the three seasons.

Manchester United’s £750m 10 year kit deal with Adidas has also significantly contributed to the club’s dominance, however the consistent success of Barcelona and Real Madrid has since seen both teams agree new kit deals with Nike and Adidas, which have eclipsed United’s contract.

Leicester City’s heroics have translated into a commercial fairy tale too with the Thai-owned club’s brand value jumping by 132 per cent in just one year. The increase has ranked Leicester 16th globally with a brand value of £160m.

Even though it has Asian ownership and one of the biggest upsets in sporting history under its belt, Leicester still trails clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea who hold sway in Thailand and wider Asia.

Discussing the 2015/16 Premier League champions Brand Finance chief executive, David Haigh, said: “Leicester’s success is something their existing sponsors will only have dreamed of and their return on investment has been spectacular.

"Armed with a thorough understanding of what its brand is really worth to potential sponsors, Leicester will now need to carefully manage the flood of offers and opportunities it receives to both maximise revenue and create partnerships that will reinforce the club’s brand as well as its bottom line.”

Unsurprisingly English clubs dominate the list with 6 of the top 10 positions featuring Premier League teams. While more La Liga teams will find it difficult to rise up the list, Barcelona and Real Madrid are climbing fast due to their new kit deals and the forthcoming renegotiating of La Liga’s TV rights.

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