Manchester United remain world`s most valuable football brand

London: Manchester United remain the world’s most valuable football brand with a market price of €672.9 million, despite ending the 2011-12 campaign without a trophy.

The Brand Finance Football 50 finds Sir Alex Ferguson`s side top of the pile again, even though it has been a season of disappointment for the Red Devils, with rivals Manchester City edging them to the Premier League title.

Despite losing the Champions League final to Chelsea on Saturday, Bayern Munich enjoy this year’s strongest growth, with a €230.3m increase in brand value that sees the Bundesliga giants take second place from Real Madrid.

However Matt Hannagan, Sports Brand Valuation Analyst, warned that the German giants must expand or be overtaken in years to come, commenting: "Bayern need to start building their brand in emerging markets or they will be left behind by relying too heavily on their domestic fan base."

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, added: "The two top teams operate different marketing strategies, Bayern prioritising its domestic fan base whilst United concentrate on global opportunities."

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have been affected by the state of their domestic economy, with unemployment hitting gate receipts and other revenue streams, and both drop one place in the rankings.

Champions League winners Chelsea remain fifth after a season where they won two trophies, but failed to impress in the Premier League. AC Milan are Italy`s only representative in the top 10.

"This year’s study shows that even football isn`t immune to the Euro crisis, with Spanish and Italian teams being hit hardest," Haigh stressed.

Eredivisie champions Ajax are the first team from outside the big four leagues in 14th position with a brand value of €144.6m, while Ligue 1 duo Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais also make the top 20 in 15th and 18th position respectively.

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