Bayern take mantle as soccer’s biggest brand

European and German champions Bayern Munich have usurped Manchester United as the world’s biggest brand, according to the latest study from valuation agency, Brand Finance.

The annual study ranks the world’s biggest football clubs by their brand value and Bayern’s value for 2013 hit €668m, a €51m jump from last year.

That hike was enough to knock United off top spot with the Red Devils’ value dropping from €670m to €650m over the last 12 months.

Borussia Dortmund, beaten by Bayern at Wembley last weekend, have climbed into the top 10 at the expense of German rivals Schalke.

Other than that, the top 10 from last year remains unchanged with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona third and fourth, respectively, Premier League quartet Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth and Italian giants AC Milan in ninth.

The combined brand value for Bundesliga teams is €1.4bn, a long way behind the €2.4bn total for the English teams featured in the study.

Average brand growth across the top 50 is a healthy 7%. Attendances have remained solid, with many top teams filling their stadiums week-in, week-out coupled with long season ticket waiting lists.

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said: “The commercial transformation of the English game, which has created hugely successful global brands, had been seen as the model to emulate.

“However, the escalation of player wages, poor financial management and alienation of grassroots fans has left many people jaded. In contrast the cheap tickets, high attendances, democratic ownership structure and financial prudence of the Bundesliga now looks like an attractive alternative, particularly now it is delivering world-beating, fluid football rather than the more workmanlike style German teams had been known for.”

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