Online Football Communities: Facebook, the measurement tool

Hi everyone,
Yesterday, Soccerlens published a very interesting analysis on the 10 football fans communities online. Soccerlens used Facebook as to measure the football online community. The results are quite surprising as Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are respectively ranked 2nd and 4th.

And finally, the football club with the biggest fan following on Facebook is:

FC Barcelona counts more than 4.6 million fans on their official facebook page. The most popular football club is also very popular online. It’s also not surprising to see the major european clubs with a huge online crowd. Chelsea, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United have a strong online popularity.

As I said earlier, and no offense to them, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are in the top 5 of the online community ranking. Although the Turkish clubs are to a certain extend less powerful financially than the EPL orLa Liga clubs, they do benefit from a huge fanbase locally and globally which is reflecting in Soccerlens results.

Facebook has become a very trustworthy source to measure an online presence. With football clubs actively tapping into social media, this survey shall incite them to use social media more and more!
Today, Forbes publised the wealthiest people in America. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is ranked 35th…..need to say more?

Karl Lusbec

The full article is here. The number of fans in the brackets are subject to change. They stand precise down to the units at the time this list was made.

9 thoughts on “Online Football Communities: Facebook, the measurement tool

  1. Karl – long time lurker here. Really enjoy your blog.

    As someone who updates Facebook Pages for two different clubs (both from Nepal) I thought I’d share a small insight. One Club has around 650 fans, while the other has only 75 fans. Most would automatically presume that the club with 650 fans is the “more popular” club – at least on Facebook. The Facebook stats however tell a different story. The Page with 75 fans actually gets 3 times the views and twice as many posts per week than the one with 650 does.

    Why? Well when the FB Page for the Team-650 was launched we really encouraged everyone to “Suggest” it to all their friends, so we got lots of people to join – many who really were not passionate fans of the club. For the Team-75 we did not promote the page at all, so only hardcore supporters found it and joined – and logically its the hardcore fans that keep coming back for more. If I ran a promotion on the two pages, I actually think the one on Team-75’s would be more successful as those are the “til-I-die” types.

    I understand my sample size is super small, but it does tell a story. So when I read these numbers, I take it with a grain of salt. I would be far more interested to know about daily views, active users, and how the clubs interact with their fans on the medium.

    By the way – WPS has 242K followers on Twitter to MLS’ 50K. You tell me which league is more popular?


    1. Hello Biplav and welcome to the Football Lounge!

      Thanks for your inputs. I believe the FB football communities give a quite accurate snapshot at a given time. Although the subscribers or fans might not be die hard fans, the numbers reveil an interest nonetheless.

      I posted an article about the Corinthians, and my gut feelings tell me that 95% of the FB followers are hardcore Corinthians fans.

      Women Professional Soccer is booming for a couple of years, and especially next year with the Women World Cup in Germany. The WPS followers on Twitter are not surprising to me, and actually point out a growing interest for this sport. It would be interesting though to have an input on the Demographic of those followers.

      Keep in touch!


  2. Karl, agree with you that Facebook is probably the best online medium to use as a benchmark tool at this point. I recently looked at what the numbers say about penetration of fan base (called it Social Media Fanbase Penetration: SMFP) but one very quickly runs into the trouble of definition of fan bases and the variuos sources being used.

    A perspective I also found interesting (but haven’t looked much further into) is how clubs perform in relation to other brands from their countries. The Spanish clubs for example rate quite high (FCB is #2 and Real Madrid is #4) in relation to “likes” of Spanish brands. Same goes for the Turkish (#2 and #3). In the UK Man U has just made it into top 10 (but will move up as time goes by) but in Germany for example no club is anywhere near top 10….and in Italy only Milan is getting close to a top 10 spot. This type of view brings another point up – i.e. one of brand value and reach and how you can show it (without doing surveys of awareness, interest etc)……and I am personally sure that there is much more potential in both Italian and German clubs for example…..


  3. Hello Kristian and Welcome,

    This is a very interesting point. Clubs are self established brands, and it’s a strong tool to assess a club brand values. Do you have any link you could share?

    Thanks guys for the inputs!


    1. Hello Karl,

      In relation toe “Social Media Fanbase Penetration: SMFP”, here is a link to the piece I put together recently:

      As for the popularity of the brands (on national, regional level) I had a look at the famecount website and filtered on nations. This clearly shows that in some countries sports clubs brands perform better than many other brands.


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