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Manchester United plays digital catch up with Real and Barca


A new report shows that Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of digital.

The Digital Value of Fans Report from Horizm looked at the audience size and value produced for sports clubs and personalities via digital platforms.

Horizm explained that the annual report was to better understand the value of the digital landscape in sports. It used Intelligenz to compare performance over the last 12 months, looking at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

According to the results, Manchester United are the third biggest club in the world, with a digital audience of 204m and a digital value of €150m.

However, they’re well behind Real Madrid (331m and €207m) and Barcelona (315m and €168m), with  Liverpool 7th and Manchester City 8th on the list.

Interestingly, when broken down to value per fan, it’s the South American clubs, Corinthians and Flamengo coming out on top, with F1’s Mercedes in third place. Liverpool is the highest placed European football club with a value per fan of €0.89, Manchester United is next at €0.73. The value per fan is worked out by which clubs are able to generate the most digital or social value relative to the size of their audience.

Manchester United’s most valuable post was its kit launch on 8th July 2022 at €113,426.



Looking at the leagues themselves, the Premier League has the biggest audience (863m), followed by La Liga (735m) and then the NBA (452m). The Premier League has also grown the most over the last 3 years (up 52.74%) and has in fact widened the gap between themselves and the other leagues.

The report also examined the work of brands within sports.

In total 590 brands activate digitally in sports, generating €78.7m, putting out 59,674 posts.

The most active categories are apparel (21.11%), travel (17.15%) and entertainment and media (12.37%).

Within Apparel, adidas is the most dominant player and its kit launches have the most digital engagement – namely Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid. Puma is second on the list, with Nike at number 3.

The travel category is headed by Emirates, with EA Sports ahead in the Entertainment and Media category. EA’s most valuable activation was branded content featuring Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.

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