Football Club Brand Analysis

Digital due diligence white paper

About this white paper

To better understand the DDD’s practical benefits we have assessed a comprehensive Digital Due Diligence analysis on today’s 15 most valued European football clubs.
The present analysis is based on data collected in July 2022. 

Even though there are other clubs that are very popular on the European stage with great histories (such as AC Milan, AFC Ajax, or SL Benfica), this time our selection is based on Brand Finance's Football 50 (2021) report.

The main question explored throughout this white paper is how efficiently these clubs apply digital strategies to achieve higher rankings in the digital landscape. Furthermore, we aim to determine the correlations between their brand value and digital efforts and achievements. 

The ball is in our court to showcase the advantages of a DDD and make you see clearly the abstract idea of how it can help your business. 

This white paper serves as a representation of a DDD’s main pillars, and it doesn’t present the complete analysis that also involves an in-depth exploration of a wide range of business-specific data.
But who is taking home the Digital Championship Cup?
Make your bets now. Big reveal in the full white paper

The big picture

Football is not losing popularity. Looking at the big picture, there is a gradual increase in the interest shown for ‘football’ worldwide.
The term has become increasingly popular over the last 18 years, with the only significant drop occurring during the global pandemic. 

The interest in the top European professional football leagues has significantly increased over the last decade. The English Premier League gained visible traction starting in 2015, and it’s growing rapidly. 7 of the top 15 most valuable football club brands are from the Premier League. The Spanish La Liga comes second with a few moments of backslides. 

Also worth mentioning is that the
English Premier League remains the most represented league within the top 50, with 18 clubs featuring and accounting for 43% of total brand value.

Social Media Strength

Barcelona is the most successful football club on social media, followed by Real Madrid right behind it. But the gap between these eternal rivals is narrow. Manchester United is still the number one team in the English Premier League, even though the team has not played for titles either nationally or in the Champions League recently. TikTok wise no club is as successful on TikTok as Paris Saint-Germain. 
On TikTok, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid have the most followers.

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United are the top 3 clubs in the social media ranking, and these three clubs are also leading the Brand Value ranking. 
The top 10 football clubs in social media show that the number of fans mostly depends on the club’s sporting successes. Many Instagram and Facebook fans of the Spanish giants still come from the time when Lionel Messi played for FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid.

Digital Landscape – Google Benchmarks

The average mobile performance score for football brand webpages is 20.2 (out of 100), which indicates that their webpage is slow (based on page speed insight). Everton's website scored best on both desktop (94) and mobile (34).
Everton occupies the 15th position on the Brand Value ranking, but its website's high-performance score indicates the club’s ambition to grow the club’s brand in digital.

All 15 clubs’ brands have low mobile performance scores, meaning that their websites need improvement considering the perceived latency on mobile. Getting a good mobile performance score is recommended because Google uses these scores as input into its search ranking algorithm.

Digital Landscape - Brand Relevancy

There is a strong correlation between 1) on-pitch performance and the number of searches and popularity levels of the club, 2)  the presence of famous players or them joining the team and the number of searches and popularity levels of the club brand.
The presence of famous football players in the team, rumours regarding a change, or the actual transfer of the player could generate a lot of excitement regardless of a team's success. 
Arsenal and Barcelona are the only teams that consistently had above-average interest levels over the last 18 years. 

FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Arsenal have had the most impact on the football scene in 2022.
But who is taking home the Digital Championship Cup?
Find out in the full white paper.
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This is not the first time we have gotten excited about football club branding. Last year we published a revived visual identity and UI/UX concept of the English Newcastle United FC. And now, our distinct approach is being featured in the Best Football Designs category by Best Design Awards.


Cognitive Creators is a digital transformation consultancy that helps global leaders and like-minded brands to transition into the digital future.
We have been challenging conventional business thinking and identifying new digital horizons by developing frameworks that make digital adoption intuitive and sustainable. Our approach makes building the path of change possible where others struggle to decipher the challenges that the digital world brings. 

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