Cape Town - The largest global football follower survey ever conducted has named Manchester United the world’s most popular club, with 659 million followers worldwide.
The survey was carried out by leading market research agency, Kantar, and gathered 54 000 respondents from 39 countries. The club that Forbes recently named the most valuable in world sport was identified as the favourite team of 659 million followers around the world.
Meanwhile, Kantar found that football remains the world’s most popular sport, with 1.6 billion followers globally, reinforcing the results of a recent FIFA survey which produced a similar figure.
Richard Arnold, the Club’s Commercial Director, commented on the long-term strategy that has made Manchester United the number one club in the world’s number one sport:
“Manchester United has built on a tradition of iconic players, iconic teams and iconic achievements - Beckham, Busby, Benfica ’68. Now our games are broadcast to 1.15 billion households globally, to an audience of over four billion a year. Manchester United resonates with followers all over the world, and it’s their passion and support that means year after year we can continue doing what matters most to everyone at the Club: playing attacking football and competing for trophies.
“The growth in our followers since 2007 correlates with what we have seen as we have rolled out our new approach to reaching fans. From the increase in TV viewership from two to four billion last season, to the demand from millions of media subscribers in 72 countries through our media partnerships, to the way the footage of Wayne’s overhead kick echoed around the world on social media, we can see that the connections to the club are growing exponentially.
Manchester United's 659 million followers are made up of:
71 million in Americas
90 million in Europe
173 million in Middle East and Africa
325 million in Asia Pacific
The number of Manchester United followers globally has grown by 98% since the previous survey in 2007.
Manchester United’s family of followers is larger than the combined population of the USA, Brazil and Mexico.