Barcelona ranked number one “power brand"

An international survey has ranked Spanish club Barcelona as the number one "power brand" in world football. The list of the top ten brands was compiled by London-based sponsorship agency Global Sponsors which placed Manchester United followed by Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Lyon. The top leagues of Spain and England combined therefore accounted for half of the top ten football brands in the world.

The sponsorship agency compiled the list form a survey of 100 of its Fortune 500 contacts and clients. Using a points system, respondents ranked clubs over a number of criteria including history of winning competitions, quality of current sponsors,matchday attendance, profile of the club's manager and the quality and capacity of their stadium.

"Barcelona's international appeal has been enhanced by global icons such as Ronaldinho and manager Frank Rijkaard who are widely recognised," the agency's commercial director Michael Stirling told Soccer Investor. "The club has developed innovative ways of reaching a global audience."

Reflecting on Manchester United's second-place spot, Stirling said: "Manchester United were perhaps an unlikely candidate to finish so far up in the survey given the lack of success in recent times and widespread negative publicity the club has sufferedsince the hostile Glazer takeover. However, respondents acknowledged that it is not easy to build a truly global brand and United were well on their way to doing so before the distraction of the takeover." Stirling also said recent success on the pitch had improved perceptions, while players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney enhance brand value and recognition.

"No club can compete with the success of Real Madrid's sporting success of winning the European Cup nine times, which entitles it to finish in the top three," Stirling commented. "Its purchases of world class players or at least world class marketing icons such as David Beckham, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, has brought with it a global fan base."

According to Global Sponsors, Chelsea has increased its appeal in the shortest of time scales. “It powers its way up the list by drawing global attention with big money signings of the world's biggest football stars. Big personalities that attract the media's attention such as its manager Jose Mourinho and its owner Abramovich have done the brand no harm.”