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The Largest World-wide Fan Base


Eggy McMuffin
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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The Liverpool dude's idea about individual competition for TV rights has led to an interesting question. A load of Liverpool fans seem to be under the impression that they and Man Utd have by far the biggest world wide appeal and I'm just wondering if that's actually true. They also love lumping us in with Man City.

I did some quick research and couldn't find much that I'd class as reliable, so I'm wanting to see what you guys know of. I was looking for match day attendances for our Asia tour pre-season to compare with Liverpool's as I seem to remember ours being higher, but couldn't find this stuff.

Man Utd seem to have a consensus saying that they have the largest international fan base with around 330m fans which is probably right to be fair, you can't move for them. This can be found here, but like I said, not a conclusive source of information.

Interesting points here about us having very high replica shirts sales, but not that great a source to use in a debate.

Forbes' rich list puts us in the mix again, but doesn't really give that much of an indication as to an international fan base. Here's the wikipedia page for it.

Adidas also recently said something about us selling the most Adidas shirts world wide, but then Yahoo begs to differ with this. With the line at the bottom standing out for me. "The top 10 clubs ranked by retail revenue were: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Marseille, Manchester United, Milan, Inter Milan, Lyon and Fenerbahce."

So yeah... where do we stand? Is there a way to put a comprehensive ranking on this in the name of science?

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The Liverpool dude's idea about individual competition for TV rights has led to an interesting question. A load of Liverpool fans seem to be under the impression that they and Man Utd have by far the biggest world wide appeal and I'm just wondering if that's actually true. They also love lumping us in with Man City.

Don't they just.

The capacity for delusion among Liverpool fans never ceases to amaze me. They will all too readily remind us that we were on the brink of financial disaster when Abramovich bought the club.

According to Liverpool fans, every single trophy won during the Abramovich era is therefore without any sporting merit whatsoever. Never mind that we were already regularly qualifying for the Champions League and that in the previous few years we had actually won several trophies, including a European trophy. Listen to that lot and they will have you believe that we came from nowhere, just as Man City are currently doing.

The irony of all this, is that until FSG took over, Liverpool were well and truly up sh*t creek. Liverpool were themselves on the brink of financial disaster. The difference of course is that Liverpool haven't won the title for ... how long is it now? And so what their rescue package achieved was to maintain their status as a viable Premier League club. What Abramovich's funding achieved was not only to maintain, but to build on our status as a Premier League club capable of regularly challenging for and winning trophies.

Similarly, Liverpool fans will use the 80,000 + attendance at the pre-season friendly in Malaysia as proof of just how big a brand they are. Conveniently forgetting the nasty little fact that the attendance for our game in the very same stadium just a week or two later, also drew a crowd of over 80,000.

I'm having a hard time accepting that Lyon, Marseille and Fenerbahce earn more marketing revenue than Chelsea.

No I don't believe that either.

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If I was to pick an order I'd probably say

Real Madrid

Barcelona

Man Utd

Is correct. I would say Man Utd are the dominant force in China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, etc, while Real Madrid, and to a lesser extent Barca, are a dominant force in Latin and South America. Of course that doesnt meant they dont blend into eachother, but gernally speaking.

Liverpool's overseas fan base seems to come from Asia (they are not a popular club among football loving Latin Americans I have seen) but in their present state that wont last long. Hence their desperation about the tv rights. The nature of overseas fans being more fickle, a few more years of mediocrity will see them lose alot of their following, im sure.

I'm having a hard time accepting that Lyon, Marseille and Fenerbahce earn more marketing revenue than Chelsea.

Agreed, there is no way that is true. Im not sure where that was pulled from but that wikipedia link has us pulling in more than twice as much revenue as OL.

I think the revenue numbers are what matter. The "value" ratings are total bullsh*t, IMO and seem incredibly subjective. Everyone rated man Utd at 1.2 billion a few years back and now the Glazers want to float them in Singapore for twice that amount. Trying to tabulate the value of property, players, and market potential is a fools errand.

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I think Liverpool and United would clearly be the most popular in Australia. United because of recent success, Liverpool probably more down to the Craig Johnston (and later Harry Kewell) factor, and former success.

Arsenal and Chelsea trail in the wake quite significantly, and most other EPL teams are barely on the radar (obviously they have the odd supporter who have family loyalties, or people who are ex-pats, or just pick a team at random and just don't chose a big one because they don't want to be seen as 'bandwaggoners').

Edited by Cam
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Interesting topic. But I would say Manchester United have the biggest worldwide. In South America and Europe The Spanish teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid are ahead but you have to realise that Manchester United dominate the Asia market. Japan, Korea, China, Indonsia, Philipines, Australia is mostly on their side. They are big in the USA. I even see United fans here in Sao Paulo. They have gained alot of Mexican fans becaus of Javier Hernandez too.

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If I was to pick an order I'd probably say

Real Madrid

Barcelona

Man Utd

I meant to say "is correct, but not in that order"

I would say it probably goes

Man Utd.....Real Madrid.....................Barcelona, with #3 catching up quickly on the back of their recent succes. Regionally, though, I stand by what I said.

Alot of plastic scouers in Ireland from what I remember. And as Lofty used to tell us, in Wales.

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Interesting topic. But I would say Manchester United have the biggest worldwide. In South America and Europe The Spanish teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid are ahead but you have to realise that Manchester United dominate the Asia market. Japan, Korea, China, Indonsia, Philipines, Australia is mostly on their side. They are big in the USA. I even see United fans here in Sao Paulo. They have gained alot of Mexican fans becaus of Javier Hernandez too.

Absolutly right ! You forgot to mention Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia... virtually every SE asian country is mad for football and the PL is in a great position there.

For anyone who has ever been in Asia its clear that ManU is by far having the biggest world-wide fan base. Chelsea, Liverpool are also pretty strong in Asia. Arsenal a bit behind. The love of people there for the Premier Leauge is mind blowing and nothing that Barcelona and Real could match in any way.

Edited by german-blue
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Man Utd are still way ahead of anyone else, mainly because they started making inroads into the Asian market almost immediately the prem appeared so have many years on everyone else. We have built quite a healthy following too though, quite a lot of Asian Premier league football fans have began watching during our period at the top so we will have picked up a hell of a lot as seen by the last pre season tour. We also have decent following in the US, though I dont know how close to Utd we are over their. Liverpool`s following will have waned over the past 4 or 5 years due to their lack of trophies, though they are still probably the biggest in many scandinavian countries.

Ive been hunting the web for some sort of definite answer to this but cant really find one. This is the closest I can get.

http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=197954

Edited by dkw
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I meant to say "is correct, but not in that order"

I would say it probably goes

Man Utd.....Real Madrid.....................Barcelona, with #3 catching up quickly on the back of their recent succes. Regionally, though, I stand by what I said.

Alot of plastic scouers in Ireland from what I remember. And as Lofty used to tell us, in Wales.

Especially in the North, where they sound disturbingly like Scousers (around Wrexham, Rhyl, Mold etc). Here in the South, there are plenty of them as well, but we are spared that horrific accent.

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Just found this in a Martin Samuel piece on Liverpool's attempt to 'go it alone' on a TV deal:

Manchester United would benefit from independence, obviously, but the idea that they would form a big two with Liverpool — much like Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain — is misplaced. Who are the second biggest Premier League team in large swathes of Asia these days? It isn’t Liverpool.

The Asian market is focused around the 15 to 25-year-old age group and too much of Liverpool’s success is historic. Chelsea are now widely second to Manchester United, on the back of modern success and some very big names. Here, we consider Luis Suarez a better buy than Fernando Torres, but the Asian market responds to different factors, including individual celebrity. Torres is a big star. Losing him to Chelsea did not help Liverpool’s brand in Asia.

[/left]

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I think Liverpool and United would clearly be the most popular in Australia.

Have no idea of numbers but there seem to be a lot of Chelsea fans where I live in Sydney, particularly young ones. I take my son to football training every weekend and the number of Chelsea shirts outnumber any other club.

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Have no idea of numbers but there seem to be a lot of Chelsea fans where I live in Sydney, particularly young ones. I take my son to football training every weekend and the number of Chelsea shirts outnumber any other club.

I always knew you convicts werent all bad...... :wink:

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I lived in Hong Kong for a while and Man U were by far the biggest, Liverpool do have their fans, but since our title successes it has increased our popularity. The Chelsea supporters clubs was made up of expats and chinese who had lived in London, now there are a lot of newer chinese members.

The thing with Asian fans in my experience is that they can be very fickle, they change their team based on results so it wouldn't surprise me if we'd got a lot of old liverpool 'fans'.

I guy i used to work with supported both man u and Chelsea so he never lost :laugh2:

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Especially in the North, where they sound disturbingly like Scousers (around Wrexham, Rhyl, Mold etc). Here in the South, there are plenty of them as well, but we are spared that horrific accent.

Good god, I cant imagine. Have they also taken on the victim mentality about everything too?

Man Utd are still way ahead of anyone else, mainly because they started making inroads into the Asian market almost immediately the prem appeared so have many years on everyone else. We have built quite a healthy following too though, quite a lot of Asian Premier league football fans have began watching during our period at the top so we will have picked up a hell of a lot as seen by the last pre season tour. We also have decent following in the US, though I dont know how close to Utd we are over their. Liverpool`s following will have waned over the past 4 or 5 years due to their lack of trophies, though they are still probably the biggest in many scandinavian countries.

Ive been hunting the web for some sort of definite answer to this but cant really find one. This is the closest I can get.

http://www.prnewswir...lease?id=197954

For shame, sir! Man Utd have always had a huge following and (unlike ourselves and the shameful, dastardly Manchester City) have earned their success through so much hard work and success on the pitch.

Sorry to highlight that, but their argument always f**king pisses me off. Yes Mancs, you earned all your money........flogging posters of Beckham's chisled abs to tweenage girls and sexually confused boys in Asia. The only reason they have had all that success was their club whored themselves to Nike (via our good friend Peter Kenyon) for every last cent they could make. The day they took the name "football club" off their crest (for, you guessed it, more money) and made it a licensed logo that they could stamp on lunchboxes and houserobes was the day they ceased to be anything other than a business. Absolutely laughable that they call us plastic when their club looks more like Walt Disney than Newton Heath. Of course, this is the nature of modern football, but until 2003 they had no problem with it at all, becuase they were miles in front of everyone else when it came to raking in cash.

Thats not to denigrate what they have done on the field because they have built and developed some great teams. But they have no moral highground on this issue. Just like the Scosuers with "Rafa never had any money" when he spent almost of a quarter of a billion pounds in six years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had got the impression that we have gained a lot of support in Africa with the high number of popular African players we’ve had in recent years. But it seems to me that it is not a very lucrative market compared to other regions. On the news you see plenty of Chelsea shirts but they are always either very old ones or very dodgy fakes. So I presume Chelsea see very little money coming out of Africa.

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One of the main reasons , Man Utd became a very big brand in Asia in late 90s , 2000s is because of the emergence of David Beckham as a global superstar and then Cristiano Ronaldo becoming a very big attraction .

In India , After ManUtd , Chelsea and Arsenal have a big fan base . As said before , the convenient scheduling of the PL games made it a big success but even then Florentino Perez cannot fault the sheer attraction of the english game as against the boring 2 horse race of la liga .

I would rate it as ManUtd and Real Madrid for the top 2 spots . Though Barcelona is a successful football club in terms of results , a huge number of Lionel Messi fans contribute to its fan base .

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Im always left with the impression that Chelseas foriegn support is vastly under estimated. I go by nothing but my own experiences, but I'd say that of any EPL club Chelseas fan base has grown the most in this "football revival" in the Americas. Im not saying that their is more Chelsea fans than any other club, but their numbers have increased the most.

I see far more Chelsea kits/gear than Liverpool to be sure. Most Liverpool kits I see are usually amongst the older crowd and the younger "liverpool" fans over here care as much about football as you folks care about ice hockey. ..... Barca is the most popular I would say. In our indoor soccer league there is a team where every player just bought a Barca jersey (teams just have to wear the same color, a few have sponsored uniforms from local companies but its the only team who have a pro teams kit uniformly).

Our recent success is really helping and oddly enough I think a big reason for that is the EA FIFA games. Chelsea has been a top team so people who like the game but dont follow the sport will frequently make the Blues their team to play and almost unconciously gain us a fan even if their interest in the sport is minimal. When playing on North American servers, I could probably count on 1 hand how many times Ive seen people use Liverpool sicne FIFA12 launched, yet I will see Chelsea used VERY frequently.

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