Football Media Value Report 2012

(Puede ver la versión española de esta entrada en ‘Informe del valor mediático del fútbol 2012‘)

We have just realeased the Football Media Value Report 2012, Season 2011/12.

This is the 7th edition of this annual report published by Media, Reputation and Intangibles, Universidad de Navarra.

You can visit our site at Economics, Sport and Intangibles unit, ESI Universidad de Navarra, where you can find information and free reports about football and media value and other sports (Olympics, Formula One, Tour de France).

Media value is estimated by the number of news received by each football player and teams during the whole season. We monitor media from countries in all continents.

According to our estimations, Argentinian star at FC Barcelona, Leo Messi, is again the football player who has received most media coverage during the season.

This is four times in a row as the leading football star in the world in terms of global media coverage. He has 28.8 points of media value. This means that Messi has appeared in news almost 29 times more than the average football players taking part in the Champions League this season.

Second most valuable player is Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) with 20.7 points. Archrivals Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Barcelona Vs Real Madrid have completely dominated the media scene during the season, as third player most talked in the news is far away. This is Didier Drogba (Chelsea) , with 12.4 points. Even if Drogba and his team did not perfom well during the regular season, Drogba has played a determinant role in allowing Chelsea FC winning the most prestigious and valuable trophy, the UEFA Champions League, for the first time ever in Chelsea’s history.

According to our results, there are no powerful emerging stars this season. There is only Van Persie (Arsenal) as a newcomer in the top 10 list. All other stars have been in the top 10 list in previous seasons.

We find as young emerging talent in the top 20 only Brazilian star Neymar (Santos) and Cavani (Naples).

If we compare top 10 players in season 2011/12  with 2010/11 results, as shown in the table below, we find that top two stars are the same, that both of them have increased their media value in this season thanks to their outstanding personal performance, and that the gap between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has increased. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) has lost momentun, as he moves from third to fifth position, paying like this the price of the early elimination of his team in the Champions League.

Xavi (FCB), Iniesta (FCB) and Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) protect their position inside the top 10 club. By contrast, players losing this status are David Villa (FC Barcelona, long term injury), Fernando Torres (Chelsea, poor sport perfomance) and Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi, as he choosed to move to a club with very low media exposure, but with extraordinary salary conditions). Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) also skip from top 10 list, wich is a rather normal movement, because goalkeepers almost never receive strong media attention.

Being named the most powerful football player in the world in terms of media impact is not just a matter of pride and satisfaction for Leo Messi, for his club FC Barcelona and for Argentina. As news are like votes for sport talent and performance, becoming the number one during a whole season is an indirect way to say thay journalists all over the world consider that Leo Messi is the best player in the world right now.

In coherence with this hypothesis, we find that in the last four seasons, the football player identified by MRI Universidad de Navarra as the most valuable player eventualy was awarded later as the Ballon d’Or (now FIFA Ballon d’Or), the most prestigious individual award in football. If this is true this next season, our prediction is that Leo Messi will win his fourth Ballon d’Or in January 2013.

Concerning the ranking of top teams by media value, our results say that FC Barcelona is again the top football team in the world in terms of media value. FC Barcelona has 103 points fo media value. This is four consecutive seasons as world leader. Second most valuable team is Real Madrid, with 79.5 points. They repeat both the positions taken in the previous season.

Third team most valuable this season is Chelsea FC, with 63 points. They are one of the winners of the season, even if they performed poorly in local championship. They move from 6th to 3rd place. This shows the tremendous impact of reaching the final stages of the UEFA Champions League.

We have four teams from the Italian league, which is an increase from previous years. There are three treams from the English Premiership, two from the Spanish Liga and Bayern Munich, from German Bundesliga. Of course, Bayern as Champions League finalist is another of the winners of the season, as they move from 9th to 6th place.

Media exposure is the core factor in football and other professional sports influencing brand value. The business of sport entities is selling spectacle to fans. Media coverage is an excellent proxy for the size of the spectacle a sport brand is creating. In our previoys studies, we have found a direct relationship between media value and revenues.

Consider for instance the case of FC Barcelona. Thanks to an extraordinary generation of home grown players like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol or Valdés, plus the role of sport manager Pep Guardiola, FC Barcelona has become a title winner team and has become the world media reference these last four seasons. Within this period of time, between 2008 and 2012, in the midst of a severe economic and financial crisis in Spain and abroad, total revenues have increased from 290 million euro in june 2007 to 461 million in june 2012. This is an increase of 58%. In the same period, Manchester United, which was the world media reference in 2008 but now has moved to 5th position, has increased revenues during the same period to just 18%.


Update 30 October 2012: List of 23 candidates to Ballon d’Or 2013

The candidates

Keepers: Casillas, Neuer and Buffon

Defenders: Piqué and Ramos

Midfielders: Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Özil, Pirlo, Touré Yaya and Xabi Alonso

Forwards: Messi, Balotelli, Benzema, Agüero, Drogba, Falcao, Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Ronaldo, Rooney and Van Persie

You can gather information about each player at FIFA web site


Seven players aong our top 10 list by media value are included in FIFA shortlist. FIFA does not include David Villa (long term injury), Samuel Eto’o (playing now in a team with no previous international competition records) and Fernando Torres.

Online betting firms have lauched bets concerning FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013 winner. We use odds proposed by in order to calculate the implicit winning chances given to 23 candidates. Bwin assigns 52.7% probabilities to win to Leo Messi, 23.6% to Cristiano Ronaldo and 23.6% to any other player.

The answer: January 7, 2013.


Other analysis in this site about FIFA Ballon d’Or