(Original post by Daily Record)
CELTIC have gatecrashed the elite of world football and won recognition as one of the top 50 brands in the global game.
However, the authors of the report into the financial state of football have warned Rangers their stock is sliding fast after refusing to even include them in their study because they are in such financial turmoil.
Celtic have become the first Scottish club to feature in the 50 most valuable clubs in football after their brand increased by a massive 30 per cent in the past 12 months.
Experts at Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy, reckon Celtic could even join clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Bayen Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid in the top 10 if they ever played in the Premiership.
Unsurprisingly, the assessment of stricken former SPL champs Rangers is much more bleak and study authors claim they cannot continue making withdrawals from their history and heritage to prop up the brand worth.
However, Brand Finance do believe Rangers can come good again and cite the example of Napoli, who were declared bankrupt and relegated to Serie C1 eight years ago. They were bought over by film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis and eventually won promotion back to Serie A, finishing third last year and qualifying for the Champions League.
As expected, the top 50 are dominated by clubs from the top five footballing nations in Europe – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, although the problems in the Eurozone have had a major impact on clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and Juventus.
Celtic are rated higher than Europa League winners Atletico Madrid, Bundesliga cracks Hertha Berlin, Russian aces Zenit St Petersburg and even David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy.
Hoops chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “Although playing in a domestic league with very low media values, and in a country of just five million people, this shows the power of the Celtic brand globally.”
Brand Finance used a range of factors to determine the worth of a football club including brand awareness, revenue streams – including merchandising, commercial contracts and season ticket sales – club heritage, UEFA ranking, quality of stadium and size of fan base.
Clubs are given a credit rating between AAA to D and the worth of their brands are calculated on how much it would cost to license them from a third party.
Celtic have a BBB+ rating and a brand value of $64m – £40.7m
Matt Hannagan, Sports Brand Valuation Analyst at Brand Finance, said: “We declined to include Rangers in our study this year because of the controversy over their finances and their entry into administration.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty around the club and although
they have a strong history, it is being drained in terms of their brand worth by the strain on
“Celtic are miles ahead in
terms of the strength of their
infrastructure, revenues and
brand awareness and are doing everything right in terms of marketing.
“They have increased awareness of their brand and attracted new fans in developed Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea
on the back of players such as Shunsuke Nakamura and
“Of course, the greatest challenge facing Celtic is the limit on their revenues, particularly in terms of broadcasting – Scottish football distributes around £16m a year to its clubs in comparison to £1billion in the Premiership.
“If they were a Premiership club I’d expect them to grow massively.
“Top 10 in our list? They could be. They have the stadium and the fans – Scottish football, per head of population, is the most watched in Europe.
“Still, there would be a risk. Much of their brand strength and value is based on being the best in Scotland and if they were not winning every week in England that image could be damaged.
“As an SPL club, Celtic could still break into the top 30, although probably never higher.
“There is a limit to how far they can grow in Scotland but you can always be cleverer and smarter in terms of commercial revenues.
“I know fans consider it sacrilege but stadium naming rights could drive on-field performanc for example.”
Rangers are in danger of slipping off the radar as one of football’s movers and shakers altogether, a far cry from the days of the early 90s when they almost qualified for the Champions League final and could attract some of the biggest names in Europe.
Hannagan added: “These are dangerous times for Rangers but are surely short term.
“The fans won’t abandon their team and they have the stadium and the history to em
erge as a force again.
“Their descent into administration means they can expect a tough time for the next few years but I expect them to return strong, following the example of Napoli.
“They were forced to start all over again in 2004 and yet qualified for the Champions League last season.
“It’s an amazing story – and De Laurentiis took over Napoli because of the strength of its brand and its associated history.
“It may look bad for Rangers fans at the moment but it won’t stay that way for ever.”
Hannagan revealed the relative strength of the UK economy in comparison with our European neighbours was a factor in helping push clubs such as Celtic, Stoke, Fulham, West Ham, Newcastle United and Sunderland into the top 50 for the first time.
They may have been unseated as Premiership champions but Manchester United remain the most valuable commodity in world football with a brand value of $853m – £543.3m.
However, the Old Trafford club could see its superiority challenged by neighbours City, who have been bolstered by £1b of investment since Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi took control of the club in September 2008.
They have broken into the top 10, rising from 11th to eighth and, at $302m, City’s brand is worth almost double its 2011 reading.
The brand worth of Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich has soared by 59 per cent to $786m and they have overtaken Spanish giants Real Madrid ($600m) and Barcelona ($580m) to move second behind United thanks to a strategy focused heavily on its wealthy domestic market.