Eagles finally beat the Dockers - in financial terms at least

Here's one league table where the Eagles can finish higher than the Dockers.

A new analysis shows that West Coast have a more valuable brand, in dollar terms, than their high-flying neighbours in the port city.

The Eagles' brand is worth $32.6 million, making it the fourth most lucrative sporting franchise in the country, according to figures compiled by consulting firm Brand Finance.

In a reversal of the two clubs' on-field fortunes, Fremantle only just makes the top eight, at $24.3 million - despite painting the town purple during its run to this year's Grand Final.

According to the list, the Penrith Panthers is the nation's most valuable brand, at $46.2 million. Collingwood has the AFL's most valuable brand.

'Brand value' can be hard to measure objectively, especially when considering the unfailing loyalty shown by many sports fans.

The list was created by imagining that a team's brand is owned by a separate party, who then licenses the club to use its colours, nickname and other branding.

In this situation, the brand value would represent the hypothetical royalties collected by this mysterious third party in return for licensing the rights.

Brand Finance director Richard Haigh said branding is relevant to sports teams "because it validates their ability to generate value both on and off the field".

The top 20 is entirely made up of NRL and AFL clubs, reflecting the two codes' dominance of Australia's sporting landscape.

Although the NRL scoops the top spot, AFL clubs take up 14 of the top 20 and have well over twice the total brand value.

"There's no doubt that the AFL goes deeper in the Australian Psyche than the NRL – this goes back to its unique Australian Heritage," said Dominic Walsh, managing director of Sydney-based brand consultancy Landor Australia.

In a separate analysis, Landor canvassed the public to rate the strength of different sporting clubs' brands in categories such as 'relevance' and 'esteem'.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its fanatical fanbase, Collingwood scored a maximum AAA 'brand rating'.

Also unsurprising is the fact that Essendon, after a year plagued by scandal and resignations, fell down the brand rating chart, from AAA- to AA+.

The 20 most valuable Australian sports brands

1. Penrith Panthers ($46.2m)

2. Collingwood Magpies ($39.1m)

3. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs ($34.5m)

4. West Coast Eagles ($32.6m)

5. Hawthorn Hawks ($27.1m)

6. Geelong Cats ($26.8m)

7. Carlton Blues ($25.3m)

8. Fremantle Dockers ($24.3m)

9. Essendon Bombers ($24m)

10. Sydney Swans ($22.7m)

11. Parramatta Eels ($21.3m)

12. Richmond Tigers ($21.1m)

13. Adelaide Crows ($20.9m)

14. Brisbane Lions ($20.4m)

15. Brisbane Broncos ($18.6m)

16. Port Adelaide Power ($17.8m)

17. St Kilda Saints ($16.5m)

18. Canberra Raiders ($16m)

19. Melbourne FC ($15m)

20. Sydney Roosters ($14.5m)

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