Panthers are top club

ON THE field the Penrith Panthers are a work a progress. A team that is building with the help of prolific junior league nursery to become no.1.

Off the field, the Panthers are thriving. A market leader. A powerhouse. And now officially, no.1.

The club was recently named Australia’s most valuable sports brand for 2013 being valued at $46.2 million.

In a study by Brand Finance and Landor Associates, the club finished ahead of AFL powerhouse Collingwood ($39.1 million) and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs ($34.5 million) to nab the top spot.

Head of Business development for the Panthers Group, Justin Pascoe said the secret to their success has been the result of an increased engagement with the fans and the community .

‘‘Our ethos as a club is all about football, the game and  community  and we havent altered from that,’’ Pascoe said.

‘‘We are very excited as a Group to be named no.1. We have spent a lot of time trying to change the brand and image and to come out on top against the like of Hawthorn and Collingwood is a testament to what we have done in the past 12 months.’’

The high valuation, some seven million more than it’s nearest rival,  comes as a result of the synergy between the Panthers Group businesses and the NRL team to create a core module for success.

A model that is only going to get stronger in the future.

Panthers rugby league executive general manager Phil Gould foreshadowed that by 2016 Penrith will be just starting to reach its potential.

It’s the same year the state-of-the-art Western Sydney Sport and Community Centre is expected be completed, that is to include the NRL Academy and Elite Learning Centre.

The next step is success on the field.

‘‘Ivan would say we havent created success until we are in a position to compete for the premiership regularly. Not just once, like we have done and be in exile for 10 years, but being able to compete year in and year out is the key onfield goal,’’ Pascoe said.

‘‘The good thing is usually you rely on on-field performance to translate to off the field success in terms of business,  but now we have a little bit of equilibrium which is good and is big help.’’

Top 5 brands

1. Penrith Panthers

2. Collingwood Magpies

3. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

4. West Coast Eagles

5. Hawthorn Hawks

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