Forbes Names the Most Valuable Sports Brands: Teams, Athletes, Events and BusinessesBy: Daryl | February 5th, 2010
People love sports, people love money, and people love lists. So the good people at Forbes magazine have unveiled the 2010 Forbes Fab 40, a list of the top 10 most valuable sports brands in four separate categories: teams, athletes, events and businesses.
The important thing to note here is that the numbers are Forbes calculations of the brand value alone, not the complete value of any team, athlete, event or business. It’s all about branding. Which finally gives me an excuse to reuse my favourite ever football merchandising image (see left).
I love that Forbes does this, because it gives us a chance to compare soccer brands with other sports. Specifically North American sports, since that’s where most of the money is. Unfortunately Forbes always choose to present their information in a series of slideshows. But I’ve clicked through and dutifully typed out the numbers, and present them to you below in four easily digestible Top 10s, with a focus on the football related. You’re welcome.
Football related entities are in bold. Just because.
Forbes Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Team Brands
Remember this is the value of the brand, not of the actual team. Forbes describes it specifically as “The portion of team value not attributable to market demographics and league.” So you couldn’t buy Real Madrid for $245 million, in case you were planning to.
1. Man Utd, $270 million
2. New York Yankees, $266m
3. Real Madrid, $245m
4. Dallas Cowboys, $208m
5. Bayern Munich, $200m
6. Arsenal, $195m
7. Milan, $175m
8. Barcelona, $170m
9. New York Mets, $159m
10. Boston Red Sox, $157m
Seems that football teams (and I’m talking proper football here) dominate the list because of their ability to draw money from jersey sponsorship, stadium sponsorship and merchandising. Here’s Forbes’ explanation for the Man Utd brand being $25m more valuable than the Madrid brand:
Even though Spanish soccer power Real Madrid generates $60 million more in revenue, Man U’s brand is $25 million more valuable. Why? Shrewd worldwide marketing efforts. The team boasts that more than half its followers hail from Asia. The Red Devils, as the team is known to its fans, will collect more than $22 million this year from a jersey sponsorship deal with troubled insurer AIG , more than any other soccer team. That figure is set to increase once another American insurance company, Aon, takes over the sponsorship next season
Bayern apparently make the list thanks to the long term naming rights deal at Allianz Arena. All of which makes Barcelona’s place on the list very impressive indeed. With no naming rights at Camp Nou, and the Unicef logo on their jersey instead of a sponsor, their $170m in brand value all comes from other types of merchandising.
Forbes Top 10 Most Valuable Athlete Brands
As with the teams above, this isn’t a sale price. Forbes describe it as the “Amount by which sponsors value an athlete over his or her peers.” This is the brand value that sponsors place on the athlete.
1. Tiger Woods, $82m
2. David Beckham, $20m
3. Roger Federer, $16m
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., $14m
5. LeBron James, $13m
6. Kobe Bryant, $12m
=7. Phil Mickelson, $10m
=7. Maria Sharapova, $10m
9. Tony Hawk, $9m
10. Jeff Gordon, $8m
First question: Why is the Tiger Woods brand still so valuable? Apparently he pre-existing sponsorship deals that are still running in 2010, and so his brand is still worth $82m. I suspect that once it’s time to renegotiate, Tiger could fall down that list a little.
Interesting to see that only one soccer player makes the list. I genuinely did not expect to find two NASCAR drivers above, say, Cristinao Ronaldo. When it comes to the brand of an athlete, it seems America is the place that really matters, and so far only David Beckham has been able to establish his brand value there.
Forbes Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Events Brands
These numbers look a little low to begin with. Until you realize that Forbes are measuring this by “Media, sponsorship, ticketing and licensed merchandise revenue generated per event day of competition.”
1. Superbowl, $420 million
2. Olympic Games (Summer), $230m
3. World Cup, $120m
4. European Championships, $110m
5. MLB World Series, $105m
6. Daytona 500, $100m
7. Olympic Games (Winter), $93m
8. NCAA Men’s Final Four, $90m
9. MLB All-Star Week, $75m
10. Kentucky Derby, $67m
So, while the World Cup may appear to be far far behind the Superbowl, it’s worth remembering that the Superbowl only happens on one day while the World Cup takes a whole month. I am slightly surprised to see the Euros in there, and so close to the World Cup too.
Forbes Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Business Brands
This is where the big money is. In many ways this is where the value of the athletes, events and teams come from. Forbes has measured the brands by “Amount of the enterprise’s private market value attributable to its name.”
1. Nike, $10.7 billion
2. ESPN, $10.5b
3. adidas, $7.3b
4. Gatorade, $6.4b
5. Reebok, $2b
6. Sky Sports, $1.3b
7. EA Sports, $770m
8. Under Armor, $530m
9. YES Network, $525m
10. IMG, $400m
Most of these businesses has some involvement with the beautiful game, but Sky Sports is arguably the only one that is focused on football.