global map of premier league fans by team

Twitter Documents Global Premier League Support

Twitter has delighted us by sharing a set of interactive maps that detail the support for Premier League clubs around the world. The maps show which teams enjoy the most support in each country, with the UK map broken down to a regional level.

In a blog post, Alex Trickett, Head of Sport at Twitter UK, explained how the maps were created.

“The map was created by looking at the official Twitter accounts for each team, using their followers as an indicator of allegiance (as opposed to, say, instances in which people mention a team while watching an interesting matchup or talking about a team’s rival)”.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the global map.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Premier League’s traditional ‘big 4’ teams that dominate – Arsenal (yellow), Chelsea (blue), Manchester United (red) and Liverpool (green). Generally speaking, the two London clubs are out in front, particularly in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. Manchester United enjoy the most support in Asia, while Liverpool edge ahead in Australia.

There are a number of factors at play behind these findings. Many countries support the team that their star players represent, which helps to explain why Arsenal (Alexis Sanchez) are most followed in Chile and Manchester City (Edin Dzeko) most followed in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The findings also reflect the marketing efforts of teams. Manchester United have for many years made pre-season trips to Asia, Liverpool have a history of playing in Australia, and Arsenal’s long association with Emirates Airlines explains their following in the Middle East.
Taking a closer look at the US, it is the same big four teams that are the most supported, with Arsenal on top of the pile with a 21.08% following. Many people explain the Gunners’ No.1 position by saying that just as football took off in the US the ‘Invincibles’ were strutting their stuff, therefore capturing the support of many fans. Personally, I have a much simpler explanation – Arsenal are the best team (I’m definitely not bias because I am an Arsenal diehard…).

Manchester City, the defending Premier League champions, are the fifth-most followed team in the US, while Everton, who have USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard on their books, come in at seventh.

Finally, in the UK there is a much more historical slant to support. Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United have a total of 51 league titles between them, and they are by far the most supported clubs. In comparison, the two teams with that have spent their way to the top in the past decade, Chelsea and Manchester City, are the fourth and fifth-most followed teams.
Plenty of teams in the UK retain support in their regions, such as Newcastle, Swansea and Leicester. One (funny) exception is Spurs; in the region of Tottenham, they only rank third, and to rub some salt into the wound, Arsenal rank top!

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Greg Bortkiewicz