The return of the Champions League: Social media followers across the big five European leagues & teams
The wait is over as the Champions League returns Tuesday, September 18. Over the next few months, soccer fans will enjoy matches featuring some of the best teams and players in the world competing in the knock-out stages.
Many questions will be answered this season like whether Manchester City, led by the Norwegian Erling Haaland, will retain its champion title, or whether Real Madrid, with its legendary history in the Champions League, will regain its dominance in Europe.
Before the ball gets rolling, let’s review some data from the main European leagues and get to know the UEFA Champions League participants a little better.
The memes in the Champions League draw
Champions League matchups bring great moments on social media. After the chaotic draw of the 2021 round of 16, images of former player Andrey Arshavin went viral. The Arsenal legend invited by UEFA to pull teams for the Champions League draw which ended in controversy and had to be redone due to “technical issues.”
As a result of the blunder, a wave of memes and videos was dispersed on social media. We wrote in the past how memes perform well on social media networks since these types of posts can be easily shared and create a community. Likewise, memes serve as an effective tool to connect with fans through humor.
We have compiled some of our favorite memes in a playlist.
Global Ranking of Champions League Teams
Blinkfire’s Global Ranking is a benchmarking tool that transforms the way properties evaluate their performance. It allows a useful comparison between various organizations, whether or not they are from the same competition or sport.
In the graphic below are the 10 teams competing in this year’s UEFA Champions League that have earned the most engagements across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok from July 1 – September 17, 2023.
Social media follower distribution
The five main European football leagues, Premier League (England), LALIGA (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy), and Ligue 1 France), are the most successful clubs in Europe and have numerous superstars on their rosters. These leagues attract millions of fans globally. Using Blinkfire data, we reviewed the social networks of each league and teams based on follower distribution.
English Premier League
The English Premier League teams have more than one billion followers, while the league has more than 194 million followers. The league’s most popular network is Instagram, which makes up 37% of their total followers. The social media network that has the most followers amongst EPL teams is Facebook at 31.1% of total followers.
LALIGA’s social media experienced a growth of 19% during the 2022-23 season, while the teams in the league grew 20.9%. It is worth highlighting the increase of TikTok followers — the network grew 205%, more than any of the five major European leagues. Despite the large increase in followers, TikTok is ranked in terms of total number of followers for LALIGA, representing 13.2% of their fanbase.
Instagram is the German league’s most followed social media network, and Facebook is the most followed platform for Bundesliga clubs. TikTok is gaining popularity, as Bundesliga gained more than 16 million new followers during the 22-23 season.
Serie A’s follower distribution is much different from the Premier League, LALIGA, Ligue 1, and Bundesliga in that the Italian league’s YouTube channel represents nearly 31% of their total followers. On the other hand, Serie A teams’ YouTube followers make up only 2.3% of total followers.
Ligue 1 is the only big five European soccer league with the largest follower base on TikTok, accounting for 31.6% of total followers. The French league’s teams are more in line with social media follower trends, as Instagram and Facebook have the highest number of followers.
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