Wrexham AFC’s Promotion Sees the Team’s Popularity Soar on Social Media
In November 2020, actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought Wrexham AFC for $2.5 million. Wrexham AFC, located in a small Welsh town of 61,603 people, is the oldest club in Wales and the third oldest professional football team in the world. At the time of Reynolds’ and McElhenney’s purchase, few soccer fans had heard of the Wrexham.
Over the past three years, Wrexham’s popularity has soared on the pitch and on social media, boosted by a Disney+ documentary called ‘Welcome to Wrexham’, the actors’ celebrity power, and a winning team. This past weekend, the Wrexham kept its Hollywood story alive as it won promotion to English Football League Two.
Wrexham’s powerful brand
The notoriety and fanfare that Reynolds and McElhenney’s team has gained since the celebrities’ arrival has impacted Wrexham’s social media, including followers, engagement, and video views.
In the last seven days (as of April 26, 2023), Wrexham AFC’s social media followers across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube grew 24.2%, with more than 538,000 new followers. The majority of the team’s growth came from TikTok (286,000) and Instagram (163,000).
Using data from our platform and extracted through our Blinkfire API, we learned that Facebook is the channel where most soccer clubs tend have the largest following, averaging 31% of total followers. However, the social TikTok is Wrexham’s most followed social media platform, accounting for 43.4% followers. Instagram ranks second, demonstrating that the format of short and fun videos are integral to Wrexham’s content and how it engages with the team’s fans.
Looking at 2023’s average engagement and video views per post on TikTok and Instagram, Wrexham performed better than the combined average of all Premier League teams.
The Welsh team earned more than 16,000 engagements per post this year, placing them ahead of Manchester City, ranked second in the Premier League and Champions League semi-finalists, having earned 14,100 engagements per post. Wrexham’s video views per post are even better. Year-to-date, only Premier League leaders Arsenal outperform Wrexham on TikTok and Instagram for average video views per post.
With Wrexham’s 3-1 victory over Boreham Wood on Saturday, April 22, the team was crowned National League champions. This win boosted Wrexham’s total engagements so much that from April 21 to April 23, they surpassed the Los Angeles Lakers (who won a thrilling Game 3 Saturday against the Sacramento Kings) in interactions across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube: 5 million for the Welsh side compared to 4.1 million for the NBA team. This figure is even more incredible considering the Los Angeles Lakers have 25 times more followers: 68.7 million versus Wrexham’s 2.8 million.
TikTok finds success with Wrexham
Wrexham’s increased media attention and growth of social media followers brought with it the arrival of major sponsors such as TikTok (front of jersey sponsor). The short-form video platform is increasingly present in sports sponsorships as the title partner of the Women’s Six Nations, an official partner to the Guinness Six Nations and Autumn Nations Series, helmet sponsor to the Toronto Maple Leafs, sleeve sponsor to the Portland Timbers, and aboard sponsor of the New York Yankees.
TikTok is reaping the rewards of the Wrexham partnership — in these three posts detailing Wrexham’s promotion to the EFL 2, TikTok earned 2 million engagements and $1 million in media value.
Wrexham AFC now looks to the offseason to prepare for their English Football League debut — one that hasn’t happened in 15 years. We’ll continue to monitor the team’s social media data and content, as Wrexham has found a great formula to engage and grow their fanbase.
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