Manchester United Football Club may not have won a trophy in the past two seasons, but that hasn't stopped the team from being the "world's first billion-dollar footballing brand." The Brand Finance Football 50 was released last week, listing Manchester U as the top grossing team with $1.2B, which marks a 63 percent growth rate.
The annual study shows that even though they might not get the most wins, the Red Devils knocked Bayern Munich out of the top spot and sent Real Madrid to third, attributing their success to sponsorship deals—like their current £47M ($73M) per year deal with Chevrolet. "Manchester United's success has been masterminded by Ed Woodward, the Ronaldo of football's commercial sphere," says Brand Finance CEO David Haigh. "As Sir Alex Ferguson developed United's world-beating reputation, Woodward (and United's owners the Glazers) capitalized on the brand's growing power to establish a worldwide fan-base and a range of sponsorship deals unrivalled in their number and value." Man U also has a £750M ($1.1B) 10-year deal with Adidas as their kit provider.