Two Gulf-owned clubs have been named among the 10 most valuable football brands in the world in a list published by Brand Finance.
Manchester City, owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, and Paris St Germain, owned by Qatar Sports Investments, are ranked fourth and ninth respectively in a list of football's 50 top brands.
Manchester City rose one place with a brand value of $800 million, up from $510 million in 2014 while the value of the PSG brand rose to $541 million this year from $324 in the year-earlier period.
The Brand Finance study ranked Manchester United as the most valuable brand, worth more than $1.2 billion, despite winning nothing this season.
The English Premier League club overtook last year's number one club, Bayern Munich, to take top spot while Real Madrid were third with a brand value of $873 million.
Newly-crowned European champions Barcelona were ranked sixth, with their Champions League victory adding $28 million to their value of $773 million.
The new champions of England, Chelsea, were ranked fifth, valued at $795 million.
"Despite another season without silverware, Manchester United has reclaimed its position at the top of the Brand Finance Football 50, knocking Bayern Munich off the top spot. The Red Devils have become the first billion dollar football brand, with 63 percent growth bringing total brand value to $1.2 billion," the report said.
Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said: “Manchester United’s success has been masterminded by Ed Woodward, the Ronaldo of football’s commercial sphere.
"As Sir Alex Ferguson developed United’s world-beating reputation, Woodward (and United’s owners the Glazers) capitalised on the brand’s growing power to establish a worldwide fan-base and a range of sponsorship deals unrivalled in their number and value.”
Sponsors’ desire to be associated with the Man U brand appears undimmed. The current shirt deal with Chevrolet (£47 million per year) is worth more than double that with previous partner AON. Adidas will be Man U’s kit provider for the next 10 years in a deal worth £750 million ($1.1 billion).
In February, it was reported that Middle East investment is swelling the coffers of Europe's top soccer clubs whose income from shirt sponsorship has soared to over €687 million ($777.75 million) this season - 20 percent up on 2013-14.
According to analysts Repucom, companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar invested about €160 million this season, almost a quarter of the total spent by companies worldwide sponsoring the shirts in Europe's top six leagues.
The figure is a 20 percent rise on the €570 million revenue of last season but sponsorship in the English Premier League has jumped by 36 percent, while clubs in Spain's top division have also seen their revenues rise by 30 percent.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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