Manchester United

Manchester United

May 29, 2012 12:16 ET

Manchester United Named Most Popular Club

New International Survey Finds 19-Time League Champions Have 659 Million Followers

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 29, 2012) - The largest global football follower survey ever conducted has today 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. 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.

"With the DHL Champ19ns Trophy tour we have seen that passion from our community of followers face to face in 38 cities across the globe, and there does not seem to be a beach or street in the world where you do not see the Aon and Nike shirt.

"This survey shows that our family of followers is going from strength to strength."


  1. Kantar is a leading global market research company with offices and affiliates all over the world
  1. Kantar also produced the 2007 global football follower survey, ensuring comparability of approach, methodology and results
  1. The latest survey was conducted between June and August 2011
  1. The respondents came from 39 countries, which together comprise 75% of the global adult population and 85% of global GDP. The number of respondents was more than double the number in the 2007 survey
  1. The survey is the most comprehensive research into football followers ever conducted. Its 35 questions analysed:
    • Demographics, age, gender, socio-economic background
    • Interest in Manchester United products, including merchandise, credit cards, content and membership
    • Relationship, awareness and attitudes to commercial partners
  1. Kantar's sophisticated extrapolation techniques also make this the most accurate football follower survey ever produced. Explanatory variables included: TV viewing data; FIFA rankings; current and past national players in the Manchester United team.


  • Manchester United has 659 million followers worldwide:
    • 71 million in Americas
    • 90 million in Europe
    • 173 million in Middle East and Africa
    • 325 million in Asia Pacific
    • 108 million in China alone - almost half of all China's football followers

  • 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.

Contact Information

  • Weber Shandwick
    Janelle Gomes
    604-681-7557 ext. 201

    Manchester United Ltd.
    Philip Townsend
    +44 (0) 161 868 8148