Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United untouchable in cyberspace

By Sportingintelligence

6 February 2012

In August 2010, as Facebook registered its 500 millionth active user, Sportingintelligence assessed the world’s ‘most popular’ sports teams by ‘Facebook fans’ – and Turkey’s Galatasaray came out on top.

The ‘monetisation’ of sports fans via social media remains in its infancy.¬†But in a rapidly changing multi-media world, we examined how and why the Turkish giants were No1, which was as much due to Galatasaray’s early adoption of Facebook as a marketing tool as anything else. (Read that piece in Turkish here).

With Faceboook’s mammoth stock floatation in the headlines, we have repeated the exercise¬†18 months on and the results are below. After a year and a half, many of the same names still feature – but with hugely inflated ‘fan numbers’ as social networking has become ever more mainstream.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United trounce the rest with more than 20m Facebook followers; the LA Lakers are the only other team in world sport with more than 10m.

Ten of the top 20 come from football (including six of the top seven, four of those from the Premier League), with four top-20 teams from basketball’s NBA, three from the NFL, two from baseball’s MLB and one team from cricket: the Indian national team.

The list is self-explanatory, and this time we have added the pay rank of each team, by position in our most recent Global Sports Salaries Survey. For more on PAY RANK, click here.

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