Bayern Munich Soccer Champions Are Kings of Branding

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As the ticker tape begins to settle following their first Champions League triumph in 12 years, Bayern Munich can rejoice in not just being Europe's greatest soccer team but the sport's most valuable brand.

The German side, which also won the Bundesliga title this year and faces VfB Stuttgart this Saturday in the German Cup final, has been praised by BrandFinance in its Football 50 2013 report for "some of the strongest financials in sport". It has seen its brand grow from $786 million in 2012 to $860 million this year.

Munich overtakes last year's most valuable brand Manchester United, whose brand value fell from $853 million to $837 million. BrandFinance says that while the Manchester side still had a AAA brand rating, there was an air of uncertainty over Old Trafford regarding how the club will fare after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Bayern Munich's success on the soccer pitch will bring added inflow to its three revenue streams: match day, media and commercial. With the latter, BrandFinance labels Munich as "the game's commercial powerhouse. Long standing ties with Audi, Adidas and Deutsche Telekom provide contracted and visible revenue streams for the club to invest into one of the world's most talented and exciting squads." BrandFinance predicts a record year of turnover for the 2012/13 season.

BrandFinance also emphasize Bayern Munich comfortably meets UEFA's financial fair play criteria which were brought in to stop soccer clubs spending more than they earn and to ensure financial concerns did not threaten the long-term survival of teams.

BrandFinance writes, "Its (Bayern's) track record of running a profitable operation and the doubling of turnover since 2007 is testament to the quality of the commercial team behind the scenes. Whilst much of its financial prudence is driven by strict Bundesliga guidance, the club is working proof that silverware and profit are not mutually exclusive in the beautiful game."

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Manchester United may have slipped a place but they are still on a strong footing after recent deals with Aon and Chevrolet. The latter deal, which sees the American car company sponsor the team's shirts from 2014, is worth over 50 million pounds ($75 million) a year, which is a five-fold increase on the nine million pounds ($13 million) a year shirt deal with Vodafone a few years ago.

Furthermore, Aon bought the naming rights for the team's training ground for 160 million pounds ($242 million) over a eight years. BrandFinance says the Aon deal shows the potency of the team's brand and that it was encouraging that Aon, whose shirt sponsorship deal ends next year when Chevrolet takes over, still wants to remain a part of the Manchester United brand, indicating a strong return on investment.

Other teams in the top 10 most valuable brands, in order, are: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund. The English Premier League clearly leads the way, with half of the teams in the top 10.

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However, BrandFinance indicates the huge financial discrepancies between the Premier LEague and Germany's Bundesliga. 14 of the Bundesliga's clubs made a profit in 2012, with the whole league witnessing an annual profit of 55 million euros ($71 million). The Premier League however made a loss of 245 million euros ($317 million) over the same period despite a revenue of 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion).

BrandFinance says the Premier League is helped by its broadcasting contracts which bring in $1.3 billion in revenue, while the Bundesliga only generates $519 million. If the Bundesliga begins to grow its international presence, this could create greater revenue in terms of media and commercial contracts, thus bring more German clubs into the elite soccer brands of the world.