Trailing only Nike but leading Adidas by a wide margin, ESPN remained the second-most-valuable brand in the sports business this year, according to Forbes. Its $11.5 billion global value led third-place Adidas by 69%, but was flat compared to 2011.
ESPN’s U.K. outlet failed to maintain rights to Premier League soccer games, while Sky Sports, the fourth most-valuable brand at $4 billion, ponied up enough to hold on to a package of games. Sky is a unit of satellite operator BSkyB. ESPN’s U.K. operations are a relatively small part of its business.
Nike saw an increase of nearly $1 billion in value to $15.9 billion in 2012 as it stayed on top. Under Armour came in fifth, well above sixth-place Reebok.
In seventh at $600 million is the Yes Network, a regional sports network that carries Yankees games. Its value is $100 million more than NESN, which carries Boston Red Sox games, according to Forbes’ annual rankings.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which distributes games for MLB and other properties digitally, also made the top 10, along with IMG.
The brand value is determined by an estimated amount of what the business would get in an “arms-length transaction” minus “the market value of a typical industry peer of equal size.” Gatorade was not eligible because much of its business is conducted outside the sports arena.