Football clubs combined follower count reaches 66.7 million on Twitter

Following on from a similar report commissioned in 2012 looking at how many Twitter users football clubs have, we’ve teamed up with the excellent data guys at Folos.im to have a look at how football clubs have grown on Twitter in the past 6 months or so. According to the latest data exclusive to Digital-Football.com, football clubs worldwide have gained by an enormous 19. million combined – which is roughly a growth of 41%.

Whilst clubs can’t be just judged on Twitter followers alone, this does back up our belief that football has become an integral part of what makes Twitter so popular. Earlier this month, Digital-Football.com founder Sean Walsh was invited to talk live on the UKs largest sports radio station talkSPORT about how sport was becoming a dominant topic of conversation on Twitter.

“Twitter gives you a fantastic platform to watch sport and use Social Media to listen to pundit, find debates, put your own opinion out there, find out what the experts have to say. It’s a fantastic barometer of finding out the opinion and sentiment around a sporting event and very quickly getting the opinions of millions worldwide.” – Digital-Football.com on the growth of Sports Social Media (talkSPORT, July 2013).

This latest stats just goes to show how more and more fans are flocking to Twitter to follow official club accounts in the search for behind-the-scenes content, transfer news and support club Social Media activity both on matchday and non-matchday.

Top 10 Football Clubs on Twitter

As was in December 2012, FC Barcelona remain top of the Twitter follower table by some 125,000 followers, with their fierce rivals Real Madrid continuing to sit second. Interestingly, Premier League side Arsenal have been shunted from the top 3 and replaced by Galatasaray who overtook them in January. Three English sides make the top 10 (Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool) with a combined followership of around 6.8 million Twitter followers, some 2 million less than FC Barcelona alone. However, English Premier League champions Manchester United have turned up late to the game and having finally joined Twitter after months of speculation. In the last 15 days, the Red Devils have already ammassed over 550,000 Twitter followers and this is expected to grow rapidly as the club gets closer to the new season.

CLUB SOURCE COUNTRY Jan-12 Jul-13 GROWTH PERCENTAGE
Barcelona SproutSocial Spain 7,724,049 9,516,936 21%
Real Madrid Dlvr.it Spain 6,457,372 8,252,796 25.3%
Galatasaray Web Turkey 2,046,966 2,909,114 39.2%
Arsenal Web England 2,053,249 2,532,060 20.7%
Chelsea Web England 1,716,293 2,443,283 36.4%
Fenerbahce SK Twitterfeed Turkey 1,564,980 2,248,195 39.9%
Liverpool Web England 1,404,333 1,802,050 25.3%
Corinthians Web Brazil 1,269,361 1,406,496 10.1%
AC Milan SocialOomph Italy 814,284 1,264,952 48.2%
Flamengo Twitterfeed Brazil 970139 1081251 10.8

Interestingly, the biggest surge in growth since January has been reserved for this year’s UEFA Champions League finalists – Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund who have seen a growth of 371% and 195.3% respectively. As the graph below shows, their involvement in the world’s elite club football competition certainly has helped raise their Social Media profile over the last few months. As has the money spending exploits of Paris Saint-Germain which has seen them benefit from a growth of 74.6% in the form of 326,908 new Twitter followers.

What Twitter clients are clubs using?

For the first time ever we are able to have a look into what Twitter clients football clubs are using to manage their accounts. Using data provided by the Twitter API we can see where the last tweet was tweeted from and whether they were using Social Media management tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. 31 of the top 50 clubs on Twitter opted to use the old fashioned web platform on Twitter.com to maintain their channels, whereas the other 19 clubs opted to use an external management platform – of which Tweetdeck was the most popular choice of clubs such as Manchester City and Chivas CD Guadalajara. Furthermore, 20 of the clubs in the top 50 teams were from South America – showing how the continent is massively growing ahead of next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Sean Walsh

Founder of Digital-Football.com and leading Football Social Media expert.

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4 Responses

  1. Petros says:

    Another excellent article, well done!

    I am wondering if there is some data that explains how many social media fans (facebook fans, twitter followers etc.) are actually attending a match or how many of the fans that usually attend a match are also sovial media fans. It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it?

    Cheers,
    Petros

    • Sean Walsh says:

      Thanks Petros!

      Would definitely be good to see how many Social Media fans were at the stadium – I guess if more clubs invest in WiFi they could probably track this?

  1. August 2, 2013

    […] growth of 566% for their Twitter followers in the past 6 months. Last week, we reported the growth of Football Social Media and how the total combined following of all official football clubs’ Twitter accounts was over […]

  2. August 21, 2013

    […] data from Digital-Football.com suggested that football clubs have a combined follower count of 66.7 million. Our data shows that […]

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