Manchester United have been named the most influential football club brand in the world, ahead of their arch rivals Liverpool.
United were praised for their huge commercial presence and for being the best at maximising retail partnerships.
Judges casting their eye over sports brands for the website licensing.biz said United's impact continued regardless of their success on the football field.
One judge said the club, who are currently fifth in the Premier League following victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford yesterday, was “the only truly global British football brand.” Another added: “You can't argue with that success and it is genuinely international.”
United, who have a successful London office dealing with commercial operations, have struck sponsorship deals with numerous companies over the past year. Companies such as Bwin, Toshiba Medical Systems, Santander, MBNA and Fuji TV have been keen to be associated with the Old Trafford giants.
A world record deal with General Motors for Chevrolet to be their shirt sponsors from the 2014/15 season is worth £357m – a 120% increase over their existing shirt sponsor Aon. Aon signed a £180m deal for naming rights to United's training ground and to have its logo plastered across the club's training kit.
The next best placed club, Liverpool, were said to have a long way to go to catch up. Owned by the Fenway Sports Group, the five-times European Cup winners continue to fascinate fans around the globe and the judges said they were starting to make an impact.
Spanish champions FC Barcelona, the second richest club in the world in terms of revenue with an annual turnover of $613m, was the third best placed football club brand ahead of Premier League leaders Arsenal and 2012 Champions League holders Chelsea who were the fourth and fifth respectively.
Tottenham Hotspur were sixth and Manchester City seventh. Surprisingly, Real Madrid did not rank although that may be because the clubs were included in a category called Sports which actually was topped by the London 2012 Olympic Games. Its vast potential for licensing and merchandising was capitalised on, the judges felt.
The Licensing.biz Power List was voted for by a panel of independent judges. Website editor Samantha Loveday said: “It is a reflection of the properties which the industry itself believes have made the most impact over the past 12 months.”
Most influential brands in licensing: Sports
- London 2012 Olympic Games
- Manchester United
- England Rugby
- Liverpool FC
- FC Barcelona
=7. Chelsea FC
9. Tour De France
=10. Arsenal FC
=10. Premier League
=12. 2012 Paralympics
=12. Team GB
15. The FA
16. Tottenham Hotspur
17. FIFA World Cup
=18. Formula 1
=18. The Ryder Cup
20. The British Lions
=21. Manchester City
=21. Red Bull
As revealed by licensing.biz