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Real Madrid and Barcelona neck-and-neck as world’s most valuable football brands in the face of COVID-19

George Miller

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Real Madrid and Barcelona neck-and-neck as world’s most valuable football brands in the face of COVID-19
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  • Real Madrid remain world’s most valuable football brand, but Barcelona narrow the gap to just €6 million
  • COVID-19 causes total brand value of top 50 clubs to decrease for the first time in 6 years – €751 million or 3.7% is knocked off
  • English clubs dominate the ranking with six brands in top 10 and 19 in top 50
  • Liverpool inches two spots up into 4th place, following historic Premier League win
  • Bundesliga’s 1. FC Köln is this year’s fastest-growing brand, followed by Leicester City and RB Leipzig – all recording over 40% growth
  • Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium takes top spot in Buro Happold’s Venue Performance Rating

Real Madrid remain the most valuable football club brand in the world for 2020, according to the latest edition of the Brand Finance Football Annual. Boosted by winning the LaLiga title for the first time since 2017, the club retained its position at the top of the table in the football industry, but against a backdrop of economic and social disruption, caused primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic, Real Madrid’s brand value has declined by 14% to €1,419 million.

Real Madrid’s disappointing on-pitch performance prior to 2019-20, which saw an earlier-than-normal exit from the UEFA Champions League in 2018-19 and a second successive season adrift of LaLiga champions Barcelona, eroded the club’s dominance of the Brand Finance ranking. The situation was exacerbated by COVID-19, along with a lack of stability around the management of the team. Barcelona, Real’s fierce rivals, are just €6 million behind Real with a brand value of €1,413 million, supported by strong and diverse revenue generation and continued domestic performance in Spain.

COVID-19 knocks off €751 million of brand value

Real Madrid is not the only club to see a drop in brand value this year. COVID-19 has caused the total value of the top 50 football brands to decrease for the first time in 6 years. Through its effect on the three main revenue streams – Matchday, Broadcasting, and Commercial – €751 million or 3.7% has been knocked off the cumulative brand value of the world’s top 50 most valuable football clubs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged professional football worldwide and across all levels. Matchday income for the 501 games remaining in the big 5 leagues dropped to zero, but it is often the smaller clubs and leagues which are more reliant on this revenue stream – in Scotland it makes up 43% of total revenue, compared to only 13% in England.

There have been some positive signs, as Southampton vs Manchester City on BBC broke the Premier League TV audience record with 5.7 million viewers, but the longer-term damage to the game’s economic structure has yet to be revealed.

Richard Haigh, Managing Director of Brand Finance, commented:

“Top-level football has been confronted with the largest existential threat since the Second World War. Loss of income, coupled with health concerns about mass gatherings, have raised question marks about the future of the industry and the financial resilience of clubs across all levels. The full damage of the COVID-19 crisis has yet to unfold and it is not inconceivable there will be casualties in the form of club bankruptcies and changes in ownership.”

Despite the huge implications of COVID-19 for football clubs and their financial results, the majority of the brand value is secured by the clubs’ long-term future – provided they can survive the initial shock. For example, only 21% of Real Madrid’s brand value is delivered by the next five years’ financial results.

Premier power

Real Madrid and Barcelona are followed by a cluster of English Premier League clubs in the Brand Finance Football Annual 2020 ranking, with Manchester United in 3rd position after their brand value fell by 11% to €1,314 million. Liverpool, who won their first league title since 1990 in runaway style, are in 4th spot jumping above Manchester City in terms of brand value, rising from €1,191 million in 2019 to €1,262 million, a 6% increase. Chelsea dropped one place in the table to 8th after their value fell for the fourth consecutive year to €949 million. This was arguably due to the club being absent from the UEFA Champions League and also suffering a transfer ban after being charged with breaking Financial Fair Play Regulations.

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BGC Response to Government Announcement on Football Index

Niji Narayan

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BGC Response to Government Announcement on Football Index
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The UK government is going to set up an independent review into the Football Index collapse. The plan for the review is welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council said: “We strongly welcome this independent review of the regulation of Football Index, up to the point where its operator’s licence was suspended in March.

“Following the suspension of BetIndex Ltd’s operating licence by the Gambling Commission last month, we immediately suspended their membership of the BGC.

“We have been concerned about reports that the Gambling Commission was made aware of issues surrounding Football Index’s business model as early as the start of 2020, something the BGC was not made aware of at the time.

“The top priority remains consumer welfare and we hope that the inquiry leads to vital lessons being learned for the future.”

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Asia

Leading EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 players to compete in ePremier League China

George Miller

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Leading EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 players to compete in ePremier League China
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Premier League, in partnership with Tencent Sports, Tencent Gaming and EA SPORTS, is launching ePremier League China later this month, the first ePremier League event to be staged outside the UK.

Some of the best Chinese gamers on EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 will represent all 20 Premier League clubs alongside hand-picked content creators and influencers. They will compete together in a group stage to determine who reaches the finals in May. The tournament will be streamed live by Tencent across China and kicks off on Wednesday 28 April.

Premier League Commercial Director Will Brass said: “The EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 video game series is one of the key channels through which fans in Asia can engage with Premier League clubs and players. After three successful ePremier League seasons in the UK, it is exciting to now be able to take this overseas for the first time and particularly to China – a hotbed for gaming and football.

“We are looking forward to working closely with EA SPORTS and our broadcast partner Tencent Sports to showcase some of the world’s best gamers in action. I am sure it will prove popular with the loyal and passionate supporters of Premier League clubs in China.”

Matches will be played on EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 (FO4) on PC, which has more than 10 million registered players in China. Each of the 20 Premier League clubs will be represented in the tournament by two local players – one high-ranking gamer on the FO4 leader board and one influencer.

This will include famous esports commentator Guan Zeyuan and the well-known FIFA Online influencer Shen Rongjie.

The clubs will be divided into four groups of five teams, with the winners of each group advancing to a knockout stage. Group-stage matches will be played online, whereas knockout matches will be played offline at Wisdom Bay in Shanghai.

Group matches will take place between Wednesday 28 April and Saturday 8 May. The knockout phase will be held on Friday 14 May, with the Grand Final on Saturday 15 May.

The ePremier League China tournament will further complement the Premier League’s digital offerings in the country, where it has more than eight million followers across its digital and social platforms.

The tournament is being broadcast on Tencent Sports, Tencent Video and Tencent News. It will also be available on Huya, Douyu and Yizhibo.

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eSports

Guild Esports Signs Rocket League Creator D7RL

George Miller

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Guild Esports Signs Rocket League Creator D7RL
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Newest addition brings the first French-Language creator to the #GuildGang 

Today, Guild Esports announces the signing of European leading Rocket League content creator Dawson “D7RL” Berbuntes, which continues to strengthen Guild’s Rocket League offering.

After the professional team’s recent RLCS European victory, Guild has diversified its entertainment offering with a French-language creator; launching in partnership with Subway, Guild has ensured it will continue to create authentic content and support local-market creators all around the world.

At 20 years old, ex-professional player D7RL has established himself as one of Europe’s biggest Rocket League content creators. After playing three years professionally, D7RL turned his focus to content creation and has since seen incredible growth. He has over 350,000 combined followers across Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram & Twitter, and has grown over 40% since January 2021.

D7RL’s largest concentration of fans is on his YouTube channel, where he has over 173,000 subscribers and has amassed an incredible 6.3 million views in the last 30 days alone, which is a 42% increase month on month.

The signing of D7RL follows a string of other creator signings designed to bring Guild fans the very best entertainment, including Nihachu, Snowmixy, Stevie White, Gee Nelly, TN25 & SoMarcus.

Carleton Curtis, Executive Chairman of Guild Esports, said: “I’m incredibly proud to welcome the first French-language content creator to Guild. It is imperative that we are able to provide authentic content to audiences in a manner that resonates with them. D7RL allows us to do this to the French-speaking community and we are excited about the content we’ll be able to create together and expand into this market.”

Danny Lopez, Guild’s Director of Brand & Content, commented: “D7RL joining the #GuildGang brings us our first creator in France continuing our efforts towards global expansion. D7RL also bolsters up our commitment to providing the best in class Rocket League content, expect to see some collaboration with our pro-team in the near future.”

D7RL, said: “It’s a great honour to be joining Guild Esports at a time of incredible growth and success, after the professional team’s recent win at the Spring European Regional I can’t wait to take the Rocket League content to the next level.”

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