The Global Rangers Brand – Just How Big Are Rangers?


When anyone says the word
‘marketing’ the predictable response from others is ‘boring’. It does not
elicit excitement, given its paperwork, targets, design, modelling and consumer
patterns analysis.
However, marketing is a critical
part of any ambitious business, and those who do it efficiently end up growing
hugely, while those who fail to take it seriously or engage it successfully
Merriam Webster would define
marketing as:
            “The act or process of selling or
purchasing in a market; the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”
The part in bold is the most
vital part, and sums up the point. In layman’s terms, marketing is every act a
business can carry out to broaden the spread of, and interest in, their goods,
and ultimately increase their revenue.
Ok, all quite stuffy up till now,
and I am quite sure a few of you have yawned already wondering why you are on
an economics article masquerading as a Rangers FC blog.
The reason is this; the Rangers brand is currently a totally
missed opportunity, and the marketing endeavours are non-existent
The global attractiveness and
popularity of any business or company (or organisation) is in the clout of its
brand. The more familiar and popular its brand is, the more people will be
attracted to purchasing its goods and services.
Brand Finance Football Brands (BFFB)
is a good place to start for analysis as to the current standing of clubs’
global brand value. Originating in 2010, this company use a wide variety of
data collated together with establishing revenue, turnover, profit and value to
ultimately reveal clubs’ positions globally as a brand. I should critically
point out this is not strictly a measure of clubs’ wealth or turnover, nor
exactly how much merchandise has been shifted, but instead it is the
amalgamation of both the results of
these factors plus how much the brand’s consequent popularity promotes and improves these factors
How many shirts is your club’s brand
big enough to sell, and how much does selling your shirt then further boost your brand?
Looking at aforementioned BFFB’s
list, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 make grim reading for those at Ibrox. While
2010 started as the top 25, then expanded to 30 in 2011, then 50 and so on,
Celtic have featured in every list thus far bar one while there is an
excruciating absence of Rangers.
Top 5 May 2012 © Brand Finance
Football Brands:
1 1 Manchester United FC EPL              
853 661 29% AAA+ 2,903 29%
2 4 FC Bayern               Bundesliga          786 493 59% AAA
2,042 38%
3 2 Real Madrid CF      BBVA Liga          600
643 -7% AAA+ 3,013 20%
4 3 FC Barcelona          BBVA Liga           580
629 -8% AAA+ 2,995 19%
5 5 Chelsea FC             EPL                        398 314 27% AA-
1,836 22%
37 NEW Celtic FC     SPL                          64 49 30%
BBB+ 857 7%
I am not going to lie and say I
fully understand these figures but the first 3-digit number is the crucial one.
It is the one which dictates the position each club holds in this list, and is
the collated ‘brand value’ list. As you can see the top 5 are relatively
predictable with the likes of Bayern, Man Utd and Real Madrid dominating. Rangers
fans will not appreciate my saying this but Celtic’s excellent 37th place is
down to the effectiveness with which the Parkhead side have exploited the North
American markets, the Irish market and in more recent years, the Far Eastern
Market. Rangers’ complete absence from this and all 4 lists going back to 2010
is an appallingly incriminating indictment of the club’s failure to exploit
various markets.
Attempts have been made – at the
beginning of this decade then CEO Martin Bain spearheaded an ill-fated
endeavour to spread Rangers’ brand into the North American market, but it came
to very little. Indeed, the lack of Rangers’ American spread was highlighted in
2010 when instead of touring North America pre-season Rangers opted to go to
that fertile land of football known as Australia.
            “We had explored the possibility of a
tour of America,
however, after considering many factors it was decided not to pursue this
further. I am sure this will be a disappointment to our fans across the
Atlantic and while we are sorry the team is no longer travelling in July,
Alastair Johnston, Walter Smith and I look forward to attending the NARSA
(North American Rangers Supporters Association) convention in Las Vegas this weekend.”
There is no way the club would
have missed out on the riches of the USA if a policy had been in place to tap
into that market – instead Down Under was used as that year’s pre-season.
Briefly in 2011 there was a small
flirtation with the Indias,
when two trialists from that region were put through their paces at Murray Park.
Again, it did not materialise into anything. The following might be from that
dubious publication the Daily Record but the piece in bold highlights the big
issue with Rangers and marketing fertile grounds:
            “JAZZ JUTTLA still wonders what it
would have been like to become the first Indian to play for Rangers. To break down an age-old barrier and
spark interest in Asia and beyond
. Despite
being a regular in the Ibrox reserves, alongside the likes of Barry Ferguson,
he was never given his chance in the big time.”
The Asias
are the ripest and richest market and they are one of the main reasons why the
English Premier League is so wealthy. The Asias, including the two most
populated countries on Earth, India and China, are the most fertile ground
on earth to increase one’s brand to. The recent episode with the Vietnamese
Arsenal fan running alongside the players’ coach was manna from heaven for the
Gunners’ marketing department. Positive PR in a massively dense area of the
Is it any wonder the top English
clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea
and Man Utd almost always tour these places pre-season? While Arsenal’s
on-pitch fortunes are not currently outstanding, their global brand is
absolutely gigantic. Mainly thanks to that Asian market. They are sixth in that
BFFB list – the sixth most recognised team on planet earth. Utd, Arsenal and
other giants of football learned years ago that the Far
East was a burgeoning locale for increasing their brand, and oh
how they have exploited it.
Celtic are currently, on the 2013
list, 44th having slipped 7 places since 2012. Rangers, disgracefully, are nowhere
to be seen on any of the 4 lists since the inception of it.
My point here is that while
Rangers were apparently ‘excluded’ in 2012 on the basis of their financial
turmoil, that Celtic were 25th in the first list in 2010 with no sign of
Rangers shows that even prior to administration Rangers still were not tapping
into lucrative markets as much as 3+ years ago.
A recent report from January last
year by Joseph Sebastian contains evidence that Misha Sher was appointed on the
Rangers board to expand Rangers’ brand:
            “Rangers Football Club (FC) has
appointed a global partnership director, Misha Sher, to grow its revenue
streams from strategic partnerships in markets, including Australia and North America.
It states that the football club is following the footsteps of Manchester United, whose sponsors include
Globacom Ltd. and Singha Corp. According to Sher, they are an international
brand, and they are focusing on building their brand in overseas markets.”
Unfortunately Sher’s tenure on
the board lasted a quite abysmal 3 months:
            “January 2012 –
March 2012 (3 months) London
Responsible for formulating and executing global strategy aimed at
building the club’s international profile and driving revenue through new
partnerships. Held responsibility for the club’s off-season activities
including first team tours and all associated activities such as commercial
partnerships, marketing, and PR. Managed a strategy aimed at repackaging
existing rights to exploit international opportunities in North America, Asia,
and Oceania.”
I could go on and on but will not
– Rangers absolutely 100%, to increase revenue and their global brand have to
take marketing a lot more seriously than they currently are. The appointment of
Sher was a nod in the right direction but clearly ended up another busted flush
in the club’s futile efforts to break these lucrative foreign markets.
I really do not thrive on saying
this but Celtic’s model, whatever it is, works infinitely better than Rangers’.
The east-enders have clearly taken foreign branding and marketing seriously and
it has resulted in a much healthier financial position. To be in the top 44
clubs in the world in terms of brand power is a testament to them and Rangers
have to emulate it.
With current finances at Ibrox
not being as lavish and healthy as they could, it is high time the club once
and for all cracked the marketing bandwagon and started to ‘sell themselves’ in
rich and lush lands where billions of people are just waiting to latch onto a
new team.
Football is hugely global – it is
about time Rangers exploited that.


  1. Charles Green started the ball rolling to expand the Rangers brand. But his untimely exit from the Rangers Board appears to have put a stop to that. It would seem that there is nobody at Ibrox prepared to put in the effort required to promote the Rangers brand.

  2. This is where the CEO should be earning his salary. As an expatriate who has worked all over the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Central Asia I am amazed at the absence of the promotion of Rangers branding and merchandise in these markets when Celtics is clearly available.
    A case in fact, why were no pre season games shown live on Rangers TV when there is major interest in the team for this season. These issues need to be addressed as a matter of urgency to further promote the most decorated club in the world.

  3. Celtic fan and I must say well written.

    I'm not sure what it is but I'm really not sure that exploitaion of Ireland and North America is our secret.

    Most Celtic fans in both places seem to complain about how the club treat them and that Celtic really struggle to capitalise on the potential the club has there.

  4. I know you won't publish any of my posts since you're terrified of the truth, but I just love winding up sevconian zombies!
    Har de Har Har har!

  5. Good article.

    Also a tim here .Problem is under Murray there was no need for any marketing as he was just throwing cash (that it turns out he didnt have)at the club with no interest in the bottom line. Not too long ago we had a debt of around 30m which is all but gone now. PL took pelters for this and still does but he and the rest of the board knew when the big sky cash was pulled we had to change. Hopefully The Rangers can sort it out but i fear the men you have at the top just now are taking you back to the brink.

  6. Rangers are a huge brand, much bigger than Celtic's. The only reason that we are not on the list prior to administration was that we were not wanting to publish our information. When ever I visited Toronto and walked past a shop window, I would always see a Rangers top.

  7. Maybe the reason rangers who were liquadated and this new rangers called The Rangers dont appear on the list is because they are not a global brand, they just dont have the appeal outside of Scotland and Northern ireland and while some support is in the USA for them from ex-Pats and in Australia and to a lesser extent New Zealand, they dont have the same global brand appeal that Celtic have through their Irish beginnings and their charitable heritage.
    The fact that their support smash up everywhere they go and spout their sectarian hatred may also be a factor, and of course their shirt is one of the most boring out, unlike the Celtic Hoops which stand out a mile and is easily recognizable worldwide

    • PB:

      Interesting too that Umbro a failing brand with the sale from Nike to the Iconix brand group didn't fight to keep them at a time when they really need club customers. Puma was a decent grab for Sevco but let's see how long they are there too as the Jersey supply market gets further compressed to two main suppliers.

  8. It is relatively easy for the large English clubs to raise their brand awareness because virtually everywhere you go in the world covers live English games. However, that type of brand awareness does not always translate into increased revenues for the clubs. The easiest way and probably the only way for a Scottish club to build a brand in Asia is through signing Asian players to build local interest. Signing a Chinese player will generate a lot more interest than signing any amount of American players will. But to follow it through and generate revenue from it requires selling stuff in the new markets otherwise it is meaningless.

  9. I agree, you just need to look at the shambles that is the Online Superstore to see what a joke we are. It must be the worst online shop of any top club in the UK, until they get their own online presence up to scratch they have no chance of making any impact globally.
    I am a bear and my partner a Wednesday fan, have a look at both of these online shops to see what I mean, it is absolutely embarrassing.
    To get anywhere you need to invest and speculate, getting global may come, but lets at least give fans somewhere to shop online as a starting point.

  10. We had worldwide exposure with Adidas then Nike until Murray sold us down the river with Diodora, downhill ever since.

  11. Rangers must exploit our Scots heritage across the globe. Our support must get their heads around the fact we are first and foremost a Scottish club.

  12. Totally agree , Rangers need to exploit our Scottish heritage as we always have been historically the most Scottish team in the land .People outwith the UK don't want to know about Rangers as a diluted English team , but as a proud Scottish unit . Celtic exploit their Irish heritage to their advantage and we should do the same with our Scottishness . Even in England were the Gers have many followers , English people want to see us first and foremost as a Scottish club and as an antidote to the hatred to everything British and Scottish that comes from Celtic as a club and fan base .

  13. As a Rangers fan living in American I have felt for years that the team has missed a huge opportunity of not coming here more often. They did come play the LA Galaxy a couple of times, 2007 & 2011, but that's it. It seems that every other major team from Europe plays multiple matches in America every summer, from Chelsea to Stoke City. And they make a killing – I looked into seats for the Everton vs. Juventus match here in San Francisco — cheapest seats were $150! With Rangers history of recruiting American players – the audience was there for the taking. Fox Soccer even bought the rights back to the SPL back in 2011-12 when there were the trio of Boca, Edu & Bedoya on the team. The Rangers brand is bigger then it's banishment to the lower divisions & you're right they are fools not to market themselves in international markets.

    Bonus Footage from 2007 match vs Galaxy

  14. I'll be honest As a Celtic supporter I opened the article expecting to find the usual 'sleeping giant', 'not our fault' etc stock phrases. Instead I found a very well written piece on the state of Scotish football as a whole and a sad indictment of our current state of affairs. The game in Scotland is sadly, and has been for years a laughing stock on the global stage. Yes we (Celtic) had a great run in Europe last season but we need to replicate that to achieve any form of recognition. We aren't as big or good as we think we are (both clubs). Rangers I feel need some stability at the top and that is something that is sorely lacking at the moment. The last 18months have been an abomination in terms of PR and image for tRFC. A complete clean sweep was needed and not sabre rattling by old faces bleating about proud clubs etc. Mr Green had history as far as bad management sent and it looks like he continued that. The current crop ae no better I feel. Time to clean house perhaps before it's too late. In house should be fixed before looking on the broader scale.

  15. Rangers are a Huge global brand, but the events of the last 18 months have reduced our appeal. For all you budding mba's / students studying marketing / investors etc , this is a project ( the rebranding of rangers, that will be a great to be involved with, watching its rise

    Most fans have very short memories and the absence of rangers from the spl has removed us from the radar of the 'occasional oversees fan " – this sector is where the brand has to be introduced to.

    Google football supporters clubs in Canada and you will see still that they have more than any other, despite the entertainment value of the last season being dire.

    Methinks the current board are improving the quality of entertainment this season- this will help generate more "feel good factor" and generate more interest.

    Interesting comments on ignoring certain areas of the world and how that affects local sales. Why not try and visit US and Australia in the same close season, c'mon its not as if kicking a ball around for 90 mins is that difficult for a 19-29 young man ….. Plus flying business class between these places is hardly stressful

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