Real Madrid (1,276 million euros), Barcelona (1,266 million) and Manchester United (1,130 million) maintain their positions on the podium, occupying the first, second and third place respectively in the ranking of the most valuable football club brands in Spain. 2021, according to the Football 50 2021 report by Brand Finance, the intangibles valuation consultancy.
LaLiga giants: Real Madrid and Barcelona retain gold and silver
Real Madrid, the first Spanish club by economic value (3,130 million euros), is also still the most valuable in the world with a brand value of 1,272 million euros. Covid-19 has caused the white club to lose -10.1% of its brand value this year and 2020 was the first year, since 2012, that it reversed the upward trend. Real Madrid has managed to double (+684 million euros) its brand value in the last ten years in large part due to the enormous strength of its brand. His brand fortress, which has remained stable during the past decade, reaching a score of 91.3 points out of 100, -3.6 points less than in 2020 and maintaining the AAA + elite rating in brand strength. According to Teresa de Lemus, managing director of Brand Finance Spain: “Now it is the turn for Spanish clubs to make the right decisions, it is not a time to divide or compete with each other, but to join together in the face of a common goal.”
Silver is again for FC Barcelona: with a value of 1,266 million euros, the number two in the world ranking is placed, which it already achieved in 2020 just 10 million euros away from Real Madrid. The Blaugrana club, which has been increasing its brand value since 2012, reduces it this year somewhat more than its rival (it falls by -10.4%), but manages to retain its brand strength (-2.5 points) which now stands at 91.1 over 100 (AAA +). At the club, the eyes of many are on Leo Messi, who at the end of this season will announce if he renews or with the Barça team.
While the LaLiga giants remain on the podium in 2021, it has been three years since a LaLiga club reached the UEFA Champions League final and the last appearance was Real Madrid’s win over Liverpool in 2018. Manchester City (2021 finalists) and Bayern Munich (2020 winners) have moved up to 4th and 5th places respectively, demonstrating the positive impact of strong European performances on brand equity. Despite this, both Spanish clubs have been able to qualify among the top spots in the Champions League year after year, for more than 20 years. This constant influx of income and status from the Champions League has played an essential role in the overall success of both, say from Brand Finance.
The list of Spanish clubs in the Brand Finance Football 50 2021 ranking is completed by Atlético de Madrid (position 13), Sevilla FC (position 23), Valencia CF (position 43), Athlétic de Bilbao (position 43) and Villareal CF (position 44).
Atlético de Madrid, the third most valuable Spanish football club brand, is still a big difference from the first two. The pandemic makes it lose 5.3% in brand value and -3.6 points in strength. The entity controlled by the Gil family has agreed to a partial refinancing of the financial debt, which at the end of the 2018/2019 season amounted to 223.6 million euros (of which 160 million correspond to those borrowed from the Mexican bank Inbursa , of the magnate Carlos Slim, for the construction of the Wanda Metropolitano stadium).
Of the Spanish club brands, that of the Athletic de Bilbao is the one that has experienced the greatest fall (-14.5%), since it has been mainly impacted by Covid-19 which, like all clubs, has affected its financial results and they have remained at half of the table in La Liga (9th). Athletic Club will close the 2020/21 academic year with a Spanish Super Cup under its arm, a Copa del Rey final and at the gates of European positions.
In the case of Villareal CF, Although it is in the final of the Europa League, it is currently not within the European places in La Liga (7th), and therefore it would not be classified as it is, so the revenue forecasts have been affected by this. It is, therefore, a key brand for Spanish football at the moment since, if it wins the Europa League and in LaLiga it does not qualify in European positions, there will be 5 Spaniards in the Champions League, 2 in the Europa League and 1 in the Conference League.
For its part, Real Betis, which barely reached the ranking of the most valuable club brands last year at 50th place, has not managed to stay this year as their results in La Liga have not improved and income has also been seen. affected by the pandemic.
The announcement of the Super League makes the clubs involved lose brand strength.
The failed European Super League (ESL) project has washed away the brand strength of the 12 clubs involved, robbing them of more than € 600 million of their total brand value. This has resulted in an average decrease in their Brand Strength Index scores of -3.0 points.
Likewise, the Super League proposal has also caused them to lose 606 million euros from the sum of the total value of the clubs’ brand, the equivalent of an annual decrease of -6%. The weaker brands have poor prognoses for their commercial success and sponsorship possibilities.
In addition to measuring overall brand equity, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics that assess marketing investment, brand equity, and business performance among others.
According to these criteria, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid have seen their brand strength drop more than the rest of the Spanish teams due to the announcement of the European Super League (ESL) that provoked a significant backlash from groups of key stakeholders, from players, managers, fans, football associations and regulators, as well as politicians and members of the government. Although the European Super League project seems to have been shelved, it has left collateral effects for the clubs involved such as the damage caused to the brands by the negative sentiment that the idea caused.
According to De Lemus, “to repair the damage that the Superliga has done to the brands, the clubs involved would have to act in some way. Perhaps rewarding the damage to the fans, or apologizing or any action that could bring him closer to the fans in an honest and humble way as well as credible and try to realign the brands with the lost values: these are mainly respect for the fans, community spirit and play cleansed. This will also need real actions to demonstrate commitment to this, and not just a statement. “