Thursday, 17 December 2015

The "biggest" Football teams in Scotland and England.


Introduction Football fans often argue about how "big" their club is compared to others. The implication is that "big" does not always scale with financial wealth or income. Indeed for those clubs that claim a global reach, it also does not correlate with domestic match attendance figures. In Scotland, some interesting claims have recently been made about the global fan-base some clubs enjoy.

Social Media Data In this short post, I use the statistics available from Facebook (FB) and Twitter as a proxy to measure the relative popularity of major football clubs in the UK. In particular, I compare the number of likes and followers for the official Club Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. I present these data in the form of a set of Football league tables in units of kilo-likes and kilo-followers (see below). Given that there are 1.5 Billion FB users in total, the true fan base is likely to be several times greater (~ x5?) than the figures presented here. Hopefully, these data can be used to settle any arguments that still exist about which club is the biggest.

Conclusions As regards the Scottish scene, both the FB and twitter statistics suggests that Glasgow Celtic has by far the largest overall support. The large number of FB page likes and Twitter followers subcribed to the official club social media sources (both a significant fraction of the Scottish population), suggest this fan-base very likely has a substantial global dimension. There is a big gap between Celtic and next "biggest" team in Scotland, Glasgow Rangers. This result is underpinned by both the Facebook and Twitter statistics. There is an even bigger gap (around an order of magnitude) between Celtic & Rangers, and the next "biggest" club - Aberdeen (on the basis of Twitter follower stats) or Hibs (on the basis of FB page likes). It is interesting to note, and unusual, that two of the "biggest" clubs currently play in the second tier of Scottish football (Rangers and Hibs).

The Facebook English Premier league table is also presented below. Even Celtic is dwarfed in terms of social media presence when compared with the largest and most wealthy English Clubs (e.g. Man Utd with 67284 kilo-likes). Indeed, about half of the teams in the English premier league have more FB likes than Celtic. Interestingly, teams that are known to have total incomes well in excess of Celtic but that are usually considered by pundits to be "smaller" clubs, do indeed show less FB likes (e.g. Southampton, Swansea, Norwich etc). Such statistics maybe of use to the Scottish Premier League in concluding more favourable financial terms when negotiating future TV deals, especially so if the "big" teams such as Hibs and Rangers return to the top tier of Scottish football.

Outside of the UK, the biggest clubs in Europe score as follows: Barcelona (89.5M), Real Madrid (86.3M), Bayern Munich (34.0M), Juventus (20.9M), A.C. Milan (24.7M), Borussia Dortmund (13.7M), Paris Saint Germain (22.3M), Inter Milan (5.7M) FB likes.

Mike Garrett.

Scottish Premier League (16-12-2015) 

                      Facebook           Twitter  
                      kilo-likes         kilo-followers
Celtic                  1420                306
Aberdeen                  32                 48
Hearts                    29                 44
St. Johnstone              4                 18
Ross County                4                  3
Hamilton                   3                 11
Inverness CT               6                 17
Partick Thistle            7                 13
Dundee                    11                 21
Motherwell                22                 20
Dundee United             16                 30
Kilmarnock                 7                 14

Scottish Championship Rangers 507 204 Hibs 47 37 ... English Premier League Manchester Utd 67284 Chelsea 44112 Arsenal 34168 Liverpool 26824 Manchester City 20019 Tottenham 7121 Everton 2314 Aston Villa 2196 Newcastle 1801 West Ham 1315 Southampton 1287 Sunderland 1157 Swansea 1088 Leicester 923 Crystal Palace 758 Stoke 648 Norwich 643 West Brom 593 Bournemouth 192 Watford 182

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