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The data behind Wrexham AFC’s return to the Football League


Celebrity-owned Wrexham AFC finally made their return to the football league official over the weekend with a 3-1 win over Boreham Wood, and sports data insights company Horizm has been analysing the data that took them there.

The historic North Wales club were taken over by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney in February 2021. The club promptly became TV stars themselves as part of the deal, thanks to the Disney+ docuseries Welcome to Wrexham, and the data certainly reflects their newfound stardom.

Horizm’s analysis highlights how the Red Dragons successes on the pitch has evolved the club’s digital presence since the end of the 2021/22 season to outperform their rivals, as well as the significant influence and value that Hollywood owners Reynolds and McElhenney have brought to the club.

Key takeaways include an increase to the club’s digital audience between June 2022 and March 2023. Wrexham’s digital audience increased from 747,855 to 1,779,066 – a growth of 137.89 per cent over the period. That audience is more than five times their nearest National League rival, Notts County, with 300,393, and more than 10 times the National League itself’s audience of 155,522 over the same period. That said, the league’s audience has also grown by 12.05 per cent, possibly in part thanks to its raised profile via the Disney favourite.

In fact, almost the entire population of the league has seen its audience grow over the period, from modest growth of 3.54 per cent at Yeovil Town to an impressive 75.66 per cent (to 236,460) at Chesterfield, the most improved team after Wrexham. The one exception was lowly Eastleigh FC, who saw their digital audience drop by 25.85 per cent to 48,319 despite an outside chance of the play offs and a record-breaking seven-second goal in their new year’s day clash with Dorking Wanderers.

Additionally, Wrexham activated 4,440 digital posts in the period, resulting in a total of 370,152,154 impressions and 11,223,636 engagements, which generated a total value of £1,060,116. This highlights how well Wrexham – who are now sponsored by TikTok – have utilised their digital inventory to grow their brand.

Club owner Reynolds took to Twitter – despite not being among the celbrities to have his blue tick restored over the weekend – to celbrate the club’s triumph, describing how he smelled of “champagne, beer and grass”:

Horizm manages over $1bn of digital inventory for more than 80 properties, across ten sports. Familiar partners regionally include Blackburn Rovers, Everton FC and Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

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