FC Barcelona the most popular football club

Hello all,
For those familiar with My Football Lounge, you would know by now that I do enjoy very much SPORT+MARKT surveys. They provide an accurate snapshot of the sporting industry (in our case football) and point out new trends and developments. Today, SPORT+MARKT released a new fantastic piece: Europe’s Top 20 – the most popular football clubs*. It is SPORT+MARKT 3rd edition.

With 57.8 million fans, FC Barcelona gets the award of the most popular football club in 2010. Messi’s club is followed by its Spanish rival Real Madrid and the Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea. The 1st Bundesliga club is ranked 5th and the first Ligue 1 club is Olympique de Marseille ranked 14th…

Europe’s Top 20 – the most popular football clubs

This is a very interesting figure. Not only do we see that Barca fanbase increased by approx 30% , but Man Utd and Chelsea popularity is not increasing. Could this be the knock on effect of the Glazer management for the Red Devils and a lack of European sporting results for the Blues?

On the other hand, Inter is getting a fantastic boost in terms of fans and popularity. 10.2 m in 2008-2009 to 17.5 m this year. No doubt “The Special One” personality and the victory in Santiago Bernabeu last year contributed to this fact. Not enough to catch up with the Rossoneri though…
Another club that is getting more european appraisal is FC Bayern Munchen. I published an article that the Bundesliga is the most solid business model with a ROA of 2%. As Bayern Munchen is a (the?) leading Bundesliga club in terms of sporting results but also of fanbase, this could explain this increase in popularity.

Winners from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010

This figure is in many ways interesting. Barcelona is the clear winner. This said, the increase is very significant considering the catalan club last year ranking. Inter Milan, as said previously, benefited from the Champions League victory to gain in popularity and appeal.
Finally, AS Roma is where it was not expected. I honestly did not expect Francesco Totti’s club almost doubling its fanbase in Europe. Well done.


Where there are winners, there are losers, and Real Madrid is the most striking example. The curve has been going downwards for the Merengue for 3 consecutive years. Worrying if you ask me.

Find the SPORT+MARKT survey here. Also, do subscribe to the Sponsorglobe newsletter to have the latest SPORT+MARKT survey and analysis.

As usual, your thoughts are welcome!

Karl Lusbec

*The “Football Top 20” study analyses the popularity of domestic and international top football clubs in 17 European countries (Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Russia). Over 10,200 football fans aged 16 – 69 years were interviewewd for the third edition of the report.
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