Billion dollar brands
For the 2015/16 football season, the Barclays Premier League was won by Leicester City FC.
Considering that, as recently as December 2015, the odds based on its likelihood were 5000/1, this was widely considered the most extraordinary thing to happen in English football in a long while – or possibly ever.
The club’s best positioning had, until April 2016, had been ninth place after the 1999/2000 season.
Now worth $237mn - equivalent to £160mn- the unprecedented success of Leicester City has seen them propelled into 16th place globally for brand value. This is a jump of 41 places since the beginning of 2015, when the club languished at 57.
This is according to a study examining the value of global football clubs was carried out by UK-based brand strategy and valuation consultancy, Brand Finance. The study also found the brand value of Leicester City has increased by 132% due to the league win, and approximately £150mn extra was earned by its Premier League title win.
Strengthening the brand recognition of the club considerably, other brands have since been keen to share in the unlikely success of the club. In 2009/10, Leicester City was in the third division of English football – its rise has created a unique touchpoint, on which both Leicester City and external brands can capitalise.
In a press release, chief executive of Brand Finance, David Haigh, says, “Leicester’s success is something its existing sponsors will only have dreamed of and its return on investment has been spectacular.”
Haigh continues, “Armed with a thorough understanding of what its brand is really worth to potential sponsors, Leicester will now need to carefully manage the flood of offers and opportunities it receives to both maximise revenue and create partnerships that will reinforce the club’s brand as well as its bottom line.”
A notable trend in brands marketing Leicester City is the use of its football strip colour, deep blue. Captain Morgan rum is an example of a brand which has also played on its iconic brand name, substituting Captain Morgan himself for an image Wes Morgan, the captain who led Leicester to victory.
The company also substituted the barrel on which Captain Morgan rests his feet on the bottle image, for a football.
However, the survey carried out by Brand Finance also shows that Manchester United FC now lead the table in terms of brand value . This came despite Leicester’s unprecedented rise, and Manchester United finishing in only fifth place in the Premier League. The club fended off brand competition to beat Barcelona FC annd take the top spot, in doing so becoming the first major football club to become worth $1bn.
Yet, with commercial, broadcasting and matchday the three main streams with which brand value is calculated, the rise in brand value of Manchester United is not unsurprising.
Its iconic history and world famous players, as well as lucrative sponsorship deals and over 75,000 stadium capacity, all combine to see Manchester United retain its global status.
With a stadium capacity of just 32,000, the Leicester City brand may struggle to match the billion-dollar mark – but the club is proof that, with enough determination, brand value can change.