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About

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Case Studies

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  • Andrew Collins

Chinese Digital Landscape: Latest Developments in European Football

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

May is the last month for most European football leagues, and the past two months were loaded with a number of exciting matches, including the title decider clash, Champions League knock-outs, and more. How does this influence Chinese social media, and more importantly, how do Chinese fans react to these dramatic final two months?

The top three leagues in Europe (La Liga, Premier League, and Bundesliga) also have the largest presence on Weibo. The Premier League has nine teams and one league account on Weibo, Bundesliga has eight teams, and La Liga has six teams with both leagues online as well.

What was trending at the end of the season?


Top posts of Bayern during the period: Mar. 28th – May 28th


Although the Bundesliga teams have the least combined followers on Weibo (approximately 6.7 million), the brilliance of German football and their determination to explore the Chinese market has really resonated on Weibo. During the past 2 months, Bundesliga has the leading figures in follower growth and average engagement per post.

Another interesting finding from this study is that the top 10 posts on Weibo during the last 2 months are all from one account: Bayern Munich. According to the Clickz report, Bayern Munich has a fanbase of about 90 million in China, which definitely reflects on their online behaviour. From the top 10 posts, 9 of them are about the Bavarians journey in the top competition in Europe – the Champions League.

Which league is most active on Weibo?


Posts on Beckham and Gerrard, who are two of the most popular figures in Premier League since


Undoubtedly, the Premier League is the top European league on Weibo, with ~29 million followers. They also have the most accounts on Weibo as well. Aside from the top 6 teams, Sunderland, Everton, and Aston Villa all have official Weibo accounts.

The Premier League also are the most active accounts on Weibo. Each account posted around 500 times over the last 2 months. This is 30% higher than Bundesliga teams and almost 3 times more than La Liga teams.

The top 10 posts from Premier League accounts included four about individual players, 2 for Beckham, and 2 for Gerrard, who is leaving for the MLS this summer. These posts were evenly shared between five different accounts, a different trend to what’s seen in the Bayern Munich dominated Bundesliga.

Which team is the most engaged on Weibo?


Top posts of Barcelona and Real Madrid


Based on average engagement per post (likes + forwards + comments), Bayern Munich take the top spot as the most engaged team on Weibo during last two months. Their dramatic matches in the Champions League against Porto and Barcelona drove high levels of engagement on Weibo.

The other top two engaged teams on Weibo are Barcelona and Real Madrid. Barcelona not only took the throne of La Liga this year, but also beat their rivals on Weibo. Xavi’ departure, the Champions League Final, and La Liga Champions were the top trending words among Barcelona Fans on Weibo. For Real Madrid, the top posts were birthday wishes to three players over the last two months, and the sacking of manager Ancelotti.

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