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| 1 minute read

Beautiful game, beautiful brands

I enjoyed browsing the Football 50 report, which unsurprisingly ranks treble-winning Manchester City FC as the world's most valuable football brand. As the report explains, brand strength is an attractive force which draws in endorsements and support, and reduces risk to overall club profitability from poor on-pitch performance.

I was heartened to see Leeds United at number 33. Yes, they are down by 17%, but they still rank above such illustrious names as Celtic and Benfica. (Does this soften the blow of relegation to the Championship? In all honesty, not so much.)

Trade mark protection is an integral part of brand strength. Major clubs own dozens if not hundreds of trade marks around the world, covering not just the obvious merchandise like shirts, balls and posters, but also an array of accessories and homewares. You can get Manchester United Christmas baubles and Arsenal gift wrap. I even have a Leeds United bottle opener at home which plays Marching On Together. 

These goods can have a huge global reach, and trade mark registrations not only help to boost revenues through sales of "official" items, but also provide a means to tackle the inevitable counterfeiting activity. It can be a vicious circle in that if times are difficult, clubs may be less motivated to invest in branding, but trade marks are always a useful insurance policy ready for happier and more lucrative times. Surely one day, buoyed by appropriate IP protection, Leeds United will rise again.

Brand strength is what attracts fans, players, investors, and sponsors to engage with the club –delivering commercial value through higher revenues, prices – especially for sponsorship, higher growth, and sponsors, reducing risks to profitability related to weak on pitch performance.


football, mcfc, sport, brands & trade marks, fashion & retail, yes, creative industries