Forget about rich lists and overall worth, who has the most powerful brand in world football?

The 2017 annual report from Brand Finance assigns each club a brand strength index (BSI) score. The methodology explains that this takes into account more than just profitability and financial performance, covering three key areas: ‘brand investment, equity in the form of emotional connection harboured by a brand, and bottom line commercial performance’.

The methodology further explains: ‘Metrics included within these categories include, stadium capacity, squad size and value, social media presence, on pitch performance, fan satisfaction, fair-play rating, stadium utilisation and revenue.’

A brand ‘value’ is also calculated using a ‘Royalty Relief’ approach ‘based on the % of revenues that would have to be paid for the use of the brand if it were owned by a third party’.

The most powerful brands are not necessarily the most valuable, as you’ll now see…

10. Paris Saint-Germain


Brand Strength Index: 82.7

Brand Strength Rating: AAA-

Overall Brand Value: $1.011bn

Despite a brand value of over $1bn that betters many others, PSG are just the 10th most powerful brand in world football. They are, however, the leaders from a French perspective and are actively looking to strengthen their brand reach in Asia specifically.

9. Manchester City


Brand Strength Index: 84.8

Brand Strength Rating: AAA

Overall Brand Value: $1.021bn

Manchester City have been transformed since Sheikh Mansour completed his takeover of the club in the summer of 2008. The City Football Group includes clubs in the United States, Australia and Japan, as well as strong women’s and youth teams.

8. Chelsea

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

Brand Strength Index: 87.9

Brand Strength Rating: AAA

Overall Brand Value: $1.248bn

Chelsea put a dismal 2015/16 campaign behind them to recapture the Premier League title in spectacular fashion. Off the pitch, sponsorship from Yokohama Tyres worth $52m annually, and a new kit deal with Nike worth over $76m each year have been huge boosts.

7. Arsenal

Arsenal v Chelsea - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Brand Strength Index: 88.3

Brand Strength Rating: AAA

Overall Brand Value: $941m

Despite a perceived underachievement on the pitch over the last decade, Arsenal still have one of the most powerful brands out there. At less than $1bn, the brand isn’t as valued as some of their domestic and European rivals but the club’s stability makes it very strong.

6. Liverpool

Liverpool v Middlesbrough - Premier League

Brand Strength Index: 88.4

Brand Strength Rating: AAA

Overall Brand Value: $908m

Lucrative kit and sponsorship deals with New Balance ($38m-per-year) and Standard Chartered ($36m-per-year), combined with improvements and capacity increases at Anfield, as well as a history of success see Liverpool continue to compete with the powerful brands.

5. Juventus

Juventus FC v FC Crotone - Serie A

Brand Strength Index: 90.5

Brand Strength Rating: AAA+

Overall Brand Value: $492m

Such has been the decline of Italian football as a whole in the last 10 years, Juventus’ brand value is actually very low compared to the rest of Europe’s big hitters. But with domestic dominance, Champions League final appearances and strong social media presence, the brand is more powerful than many others that carry greater financial importance.

4. Manchester United

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

Brand Strength Index: 91.4

Brand Strength Rating: AAA+

Overall Brand Value: $1.733bn

Huge commercial revenues and vast marketing success continue to make the Manchester United brand the most valuable in world football at a figure not far off $2 billion. In terms of brand strength and power, disappointment on the pitch in recent years has been a negative.

3. Bayern Munich

Bayern Muenchen v SC Freiburg - Bundesliga

Brand Strength Index: 92.1

Brand Strength Rating: AAA+

Overall Brand Value: $1.222bn

For Bayern Munich, German dominance has been key to protecting and increasing their brand strength in the overall European picture. The club has a strong brand presence in China, although there are still opportunities to be exploited in Latin America and Africa.

2. Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga

Brand Strength Index: 95.4

Brand Strength Rating: AAA+

Overall Brand Value: $1.418bn

A renewed partnership with Nike worth nearly $175m each year and a new shirt sponsorship deal with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has been a big plus for Barcelona’s brand strength. Work is also planned for redeveloping parts of their iconic Camp Nou stadium.

1. Real Madrid


Brand Strength Index: 96.1

Brand Strength Rating: AAA+

Overall Brand Value: $1.419bn

Although second to Manchester United in terms of value, Real Madrid possess what is currently the most powerful brand in world football. That has been helped no end by a flurry of Champions League wins, while they continue to be a very popular club in foreign markets.