Football Research

Brand Finance has conducted in-depth analysis of the most valuable football league and club brands since 2010. In 2017, we expanded the football coverage to include our detailed research into perceptions of football fans around the world.

In 2019 and our upcoming 2020 release, we have once again expanded the research to provide a comprehensive understanding of fans in the modern footballing landscape, and tailored insights into how clubs and corporate brands can use this information to generate value for their brands and businesses.

Brand Finance Football Brand Rankings 2015—2019 and Football Annual 2019
Map showing research coverage of Brand Finance Football Research 2020
Brand Finance Football Research Coverage 2020

For the Brand Finance Football Annual 2020, we conducted in-depth research among football fans in 5 key European markets: the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Italy; and 2 of the largest emerging international football markets: China and the United States. The European countries were selected based on the global popularity and notoriety of their respective domestic football leagues.

An online survey was conducted among approximately 1,000 football fans in each market, broadly representative of the fan base in terms of age and gender.

The research assesses fans’ perceptions of major football leagues, football competitions and football clubs, and their level of engagement and enthusiasm towards them. The research covered more than 20 major leagues and their clubs, with emphasis on the domestic leagues and clubs within each respective market.

Questions about our market research? Contact:
Portrait of Steven Thomson
Steven Thomson
Insights Director

Fan Research Areas 2020

Our research results provide deep insight into how football is consumed, how consumption patterns vary across markets and demographic segments, and where passion for the game appears strongest.

We identify the leagues and clubs that engage and excite fans the most, and the different ways in which fans tangibly support their favourite clubs. This allows us to assess which sponsorships are most salient among fans and offer the greatest return on investment based on the deal’s impact on consumer perceptions and buying behaviour.

Football Fan Profiles

Age, gender and income bracket of football fans, level of affinity to football.

The Rise of eSports

Can eSports be used as a mechanism to grow fan bases? How do existing fans feel about eSports?

Football Consumption & Engagement

How is football consumed? TV, online streaming, social media? What have fans done in the past month?

Sponsorship Effectiveness

Are existing sponsors seeing a good return on investment? Sponsorship opportunity analysis and Comparable Deal Benchmarking

Football Club & League Insights

For Leagues and Clubs, Familiarity, Following, Favourites, Fan loyalty and information on what drives loyalty to football clubs

Stadium Effectiveness

Stadium experiences ,ratings, associations, drivers of importance

Football Club & League Associations

What do fans associate with their favourite leagues and clubs? Has world class clubs / players, Exciting to watch etc.

Women’s Football

How popular is the women’s game, and how is it consumed?

Sample Research Results 2020

Most-followed football leagues
Most-used media channels by region
Favourite football league of fans in the USA
Favourite football league of fans in China
Questions about our market research? Contact:
Portrait of Steven Thomson
Steven Thomson
Insights Director

Which European clubs do fans rate as #1?

The club plays exciting and entertaining football

FC Bayern Munich Logo

The club has a lot of star players

Tottenham Hotspur FC Logo

My favourite player plays for the club

Manchester City FC Logo

The club regularly challenges for trophies

Valencia CF Logo

The club has a rich heritage and history

Tottenham Hotspur FC Logo

A good opportunity to catch up with friends or family over a game

Chelsea FC Logo

The club has a global following/fan base

Liverpool FC Logo

The club appreciates its fans

SV Werder Bremen Logo

The club is ambitious

RasenBallsport Leipzig Logo

It’s a cool club

Borussia Mönchengladbach Logo

The club is well run and managed off the pitch

Tottenham Hotspur FC Logo

The club has a great stadium

Tottenham Hotspur FC Logo

The owners really care about the club

Chelsea FC Logo

The club has passionate fans

FC Shalke 04 Logo

Corporate Sponsorship & Partnership Analysis

Our research covers some of the largest corporate partnerships in domestic and international football, providing an in-depth look at the value derived from existing deals between football clubs and corporate sponsors.

These insights enable potential sponsors of leagues and clubs to identify and assess opportunities to not only partner with both global giants (are the biggest clubs as popular as they like to think they are?) but also consider slightly smaller leagues and clubs where it may be possible for individual sponsors to stand out from the crowd more easily.

The right partner club or league is available for sponsorship deals of all types and sizes, but whether the focus is on direct revenue generation or longer-term brand-building, potential sponsors must base their decisions on a good understanding of how clubs and leagues are perceived and not gut feel alone.

Similarly, clubs and leagues hoping to attract sponsors are increasingly aware of the need to present a business case for partnership and investment based on data and evidence that brand owners require before they commit their marketing dollars.

Questions about Sponsorship Evaluation? Contact:
Portrait of Hugo Hensley
Hugo Hensley
Head of Sports Services

Deals included in our sponsorship research

Sponsorship Evaluation Services

Bringing together our extensive research and Brand Finance’s in-house brand evaluation expertise, we offer Sponsorship Evaluation services that address the key commercial decisions facing sponsors and club, league or stadium management seeking sponsorship.

Sponsorship Strategy

How will sponsorship help us achieve our strategic aims?

  • Management consultation
  • Brand and sponsorship strategy workshop
  • Sponsorship objectives
  • Current sponsorship programme audit
  • Budget setting

Brand Review

What is the proposition and value of our owned IP?

  • Brand governance / Risk audit
  • Brand audit
  • Brand due diligence
  • Financial analysis
  • Brand strength analysis

Sponsorship Evaluation

What opportunities are available, feasible, and will provide the greatest return?

  • Sponsorship opportunity analysis
  • Strategic alignment
  • Brand fit analysis
  • Market research
  • Financial measurement
  • Partner identification

Negotiation & Activation Strategy

Do I require experienced professional assistance with the technical aspects of sponsorship agreements?

  • Negotiation objectives setting
  • Royalty rate setting
  • Structure of charges
  • Length of agreement
  • Balance of power analysis
  • Negotiation support
  • Naming rights

Sponsorship Appraisal & Tracking

Did the sponsorship or partnership achieve the objectives set?

  • Success tracking and measurement
  • Return on sponsorship
  • Business and brand value impact analysis
  • Benchmarking and tracking
  • Ad equivalency analysis
  • Strategy review


Client Projects